Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. Judging by the holiday’s name, the way to celebrate Thanksgiving seems pretty straightforward: What could be simpler than counting your blessings and saying a prayer of thanks for them.
But the beauty and simplicity of the day have, for many, become complicated by a host of things that divert attention from the object of our gratitude: ìThe Lord.î Expressing thanks can be difficult when our mind is preoccupied with expectations (our own as well as others’), a loved one isn’t there to celebrate with us, or for some it is a high stress occasion.
The truth is, on a day set aside for being grateful, many people feel miserable. In fact, Christians are no exception. However, regardless of our feelings, the Bible tells us to constantly give thanks to the Lord.
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Two reasons many of us don’t get the principle of thanksgiving right are somewhat opposite to each other.
We give thanks only for the things we feel thankful for.
We speak words of thanksgiving out of habit without truly grateful.
In the first case, we fall short of the goal laid out for us in God’s word — namely, to give thanks in everything. In the second case, we’re behaving religiously on the outside without being transformed on the inside. Instead of giving the Lord our gratitude, we are offering Him platitudes.
It is easy to be grateful when things are going well. What about the times when we feel that our life is falling apart? God want us to give thanks at all times, because He has a purpose for thankfulness. When we are thankful, we become more aware of His presence and more motivated to find His purpose. Thankfulness teaches us to trust God, build our faith, and recognize our dependence upon Him.
Amanda Sabelko, Deacon CYF Ministry Development Director
You know it’s fall when we take our annual two week faith formation break for MEA & our lutefisk dinner! Our first couple months have been going great, stop by sometime to see all the smiling faces on Sunday mornings or Wednesday afternoons.
This year, we are taking more of an initiative to have all ages learning foundational pieces of our faith. Some are focusing on learning the books of the Bible, some are memorizing the Lord’s Prayer, and some are even going to learn all about the Small Catechism! In September, all of our 4-year-olds and 3rd graders received Bibles as part of the promises we made to their families in Holy Baptism — to place in their hands the Holy Scriptures. This month we are celebrating 3-year-olds as they receive a prayer pillow from the congregation. They will all receive prayers every month from December to October 2018. Prayer Pillows will be given out on November 12 and 15 at all services.
Thank you for your commitment to the faith life of our students and others within our congregation.
After months of dialogue within our group, the Transition Team has come to a place where we can comfortably and confidently engage in productive, informed conversations with the greater congregation. The most effective way to develop a clear sense of identity, purpose, and mission, as well as build consensus and commitments for the future, is to draw from continued input that represents the whole congregation.
October activity included a well-attended Sunday forum in the Fireside Room, a “Keep, Change, Add” exercise that elicited some wonderfully creative and insightful responses, and a meeting with Bishop Delzer that was incredibly informative and served as a valuable opportunity to grow a healthy understanding and linkage to the Southeastern Minnesota Synod (Missed it? Watch or listen at www.stjohnskasson.org/bishop-town-hall).
In November, we are excited to introduce an interactive game board activity that has been created to deepen and widen congregational conversations. We will be offering several opportunities for Transition Team-led participation (see below). We ask that you make a special effort to be part of one of these opportunities. We can also provide your group (commission, family, friends) the materials to self-facilitate the activity.
We thank you for taking the time to talk with us and with each other and for praying for our congregation. God continues to lead us into a very exciting and promising future!
Interactive Game Board Dates:
11/7 – 6:30 pm – Commission and Circles
11/12 – 9:10 am – Coffee Hour and Sunday Confirmation
11/15 – 4:45 pm – Wednesday Club 56
11/15 – 5:30 pm – Families with Free Pizza provided!
Creation Kids Preschool had great attendance and support for the pancake breakfast and silent auction. Thank you for what you do for our young children.
Welcome to Becky Wheeler, our new teacher assistant for the 4s. We are grateful to Kris Foley for the time she has been with our program and now look forward to having Becky on our staff.
We are pleased to have three new board members. Ann Holtan, Rachel Linbo, and Jessica Paulsen are sharing their time and ideas as we continue to provide an exceptional Christian preschool experience for our children and families.
November is Thankoffering month for Women of the ELCA. At St. John’s we began the tradition by starting to quilt on Wednesday, November 1. Ladies begin to come at 8 am and others join in when they can. We have a social time around 9:30 am to meet everyone and learn of projects that we need or that we have done for others. It’s a very relaxed morning and a great way to meet women. All are welcome and there are many kinds of jobs that can be done.
The Women of the ELCA will lead us in Thankofferings on Sunday, November 12 at both worship services. On this day when the offering is brought forward, women, children, and anyone who wants to participate is welcome to bring food, blankets or whatever you like forward as an offering to those in need. You can use baskets, paper bags or however you like to bring this forward and leave it at the altar. All children are welcome to participate, parents also.
There will be offering envelopes available for anyone to use if they would like to participate with an offering of gratitude.
Thankofferings began in the late 19th century when boxes were placed in homes, the families usually women placed coins in them for times when they were blessed, usually this was every day. This traditions was started by the Episcopal Church women followed by the United Methodist women, later in the Lutheran tradition. This tradition is still active in all of these congregations. Please join the Women of St. John’s in this tradition.
Adult Fellowship is encouraging everyone to come & support†the Care & Share Auction on November 16 at the new location right here at St. John’s. This is such a great way to help the community make the holidays a little brighter for folks in need right here in the Kasson-Mantorville area.