I write a weekly message to the leaders in our Sunday School program at church. It connects to the weekly theme and story. More often than not, I write it to myself. I write it to pick my melted self off of the floor and to tell myself that there is greater, deeper, better hope.
Here's this week's, based on Joshua 3:1-4:24 where the Israelites cross the Jordan River into Canaan:
Thanksgiving is a verb, an action, a movement. It’s more than a day. Certainly, we get together and partake in whatever family or friends traditions we have. Some eat Chinese food, some watch 2948 hours of football, some have pie making competitions (I’m coming to your house). Yet, at the core, our activities are centered on things that we are thankful for. This can be difficult at the end of a year filled with lost jobs, sick friends, lost sanity, and a whole lot of rain that just seems to aggravate the malaise.
Our young people aren’t oblivious to these troubles. They know when the adults in their life are hurting. They know when we are wandering around in a proverbial desert waiting for God to show us the river to cross. God acted mightily in the lives of Joshua and the Israelites. He dammed up a river and they walked across. Finally, their wandering was coming to a miraculous end. Tomorrow, when we wake up, this life will not change. And yet our response can change. We can look forward in life at the malaise and see the miraculous promise in the end. We can see forgiveness, healing and meaning in Christ. Our joy is independent of our sorrow and circumstance. For that we give thanks and build our 12 stone altars.