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Metropolitan Community Churches Tearing Down Walls. Building Up Hope.
Expressions From A Season of Gratitude
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November 24, 2009
As we approach a new church year, and the season of Advent, we close this season of gratitude with a reminder to all of us of the many, many reasons to be grateful.
I was in San Diego, California last Sunday, and could hear the Psalmist say, “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the House of our God!” As we dedicated their new sanctuary and church building, with former pastors, and hundreds of people from church and community, we were glad! Glad for renewal, hope, and opportunity to serve God together in this new space.
I am grateful today for every house, that in MCC’s name, preaches and embodies the inclusive love of God in Jesus Christ; everyone who serves in our communities around the world; and every new person who will find us in the coming year!
Today, I am grateful for my Elder colleagues, Diane, Darlene, Lillie and Ken who offer their thoughts with us, and for all of you. Remember to take time with friends, families, neighbors and co-workers to testify to the gratitude that you feel today!
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Grace and Peace,
Moderator Metropolitan Community Churches
In my life, I have found a myriad of ways to infuse gratitude into every facet of my being and yet when pause to think about how radical gratitude can be a tool for everyday living; my efforts somehow seemed to pale in comparison. Radical gratitude requires something more of me than just adding it to who I am in the moment; it requires of me a new awakening!
This new awakening has allowed me the chance to give freely and fearlessly into every experience of life and all that she holds for me in return. Radical gratitude stirs within me a new source of strength to stand when I am weary and to speak out for those who are held in silence. When looking at the world through this lens of gratitude, the blurred edges become clear and crisp, the colors become rich and lively and my connection to each of you becomes deeper and more profound and I am grateful!
So my friends, allow your gratitude in all things to be the alarm that awakens your Spirit and I invite you to consider what difference you can make in the world if radical gratitude were the only tool available for your use.
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Rev. Elder Darlene Garner
Vice Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches
In 1995 I was reunited with my son after no contact and not even knowing where he was for 18 years. Our local paper published a long article on our reunion and the effects on families when a parent comes out. The article ended with my saying, “The rest of my life will be about gratitude.”
Living gratitude for me now means never taking the most important people and things in my life for granted. It means living in a constant state of “thank you” and appreciation. Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever pray is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.”
This year, my son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren will spend Christmas at our home with Tom and me. I will be praying that simple prayer a lot!
I invite you to click here and share with all of us what living gratitude means to you.
Rev. Elder Ken Martin
I have been so blessed in my ministry with MCC around the world, and yet it continues to be the little things I am most thankful for. Each small sign of hope helps me to know that change is possible. I was asked to reflect on “how has my sense of gratitude changed the world around me?”
I believe that gratitude is an ongoing prayerful state where I look at my encounters throughout the day and deliberately look at what I have learned. Often I need to learn the same thing many times before it becomes apart of me. As I have learned and re-learned, the way that I interact with the world around me is also changed. I can be thankful when big things happen, like getting off the bus in Moldova and everyone was okay. I am also thankful when I walk into any MCC and someone comes up, smiles at me and introduces themselves. You have to be open to receive and you have to be open to be thankful.
This Thanksgiving season in the United States, I would like to invite each of you will take a moment and reflect on how your sense of gratitude changes the world around you?
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Rev. Elder Diane Fisher
I have to admit that, while I love Thanksgiving and all it represents, I can’t for the life of me figure out how Christians can set this one day of the year aside as if it’s our ONE opportunity to focus on and speak about the things for which we are grateful!
As I’ve reflected on that phenomenon this Thanksgiving Season, it has caused me to remember that when I was in my early twenties, I was exposed to a teacher/mentor who constantly challenged me to see the world through the lens of gratitude. As I was growing into my adult shoes, I am so grateful that someone was there encouraging me to walk in those shoes with an eye and heart toward gratitude.
Has that experience shaped and inspired me? You bet!!! Oh sure, I have my moments (OK, sometimes days) when I complain or feel sorry for myself but all in all, I’m pretty focused on the things, experiences, people, promises that are in my life and the ways in which I am blessed by them. It is really hard to be down when I remember to be grateful.
As a result, I believe that gratitude shapes who I am in the world and is the primary driver of my relentless belief that good out does evil every day, that love overcomes fear more often than not, that healing overrides sickness in miraculous ways, that compassion trumps bitterness in the sweetest of ways and hope burns through despair in every corner of the world. Am I an optimist? A dreamer? Delusional? Maybe. But more than anything else . . . seeing the world through the lens of gratitude helps me to see the ways in which God is always working to bless us, heal us, delight us and love us. So . . . call me what you will but I invite you to join me on the journey of gratitude! Buy some new glasses and give these new lens a try. . . you may find it’s the best accessory you’ll every own!
I wonder . . . how do you think gratitude has inspired you and how does it make you who you are today?
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