Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever….

 Photo by Dave Parker via Flickr

Photo by Dave Parker via Flickr

While the United Methodist Church is now global, those of us in the United States are gathering today with family and friends for the tradition we call Thanksgiving. The origins of the holiday are both well-known and full of myth and legend, but regardless, it represents a day of thanks for God’s provision in our lives. In the midst of the feasts and the football games it’s easy to lose sight of the opportunity for remembrance and gratitude that this holiday offers, but when we gather around the table (just as many of us will this coming Sunday at church) we draw closer together and remember the goodness of God as God is revealed in the breaking of the bread.

During the past several months our church has struggled as we try to make sense of God’s desires in regards to human sexuality and love. It’s been a time of press releases and public events and church trials. I confess that I have heard (and experienced) more worry about the future of our fellowship then I’ve ever heard before as we become more and more polarized.

I know some will say that there can be no true thanksgiving until those who are oppressed are freed. I know others will suggest that there is little to give thanks for in the face of church leaders seeming to ignore the teachings and traditions of the church. Gratitude is hard in the face of brokenness.

And yet as the Apostle Paul told the church at Thessaloniki, we are to give thanks in ALL circumstances. “Rejoice in the Lord, always!” Paul told the Phillipian church,” And again, I say rejoice!”

So, on this day, I have a request. The comment thread is open. This is not a day for debate . . . this is a day for giving thanks. Our passion for our church is rooted in the great blessings we’ve each received through The United Methodist Church, no matter where we fall on the theological/political spectrum. So take just a moment and jot down a comment of thanksgiving for the UMC in your life. It may be an individual, a church, a theological perspective, or an event, but share how you have experienced the presence of God through the ministry of the UMC, and offer up a word and/or prayer of thanks for that gift in your life.

Taste and see how good the Lord is!
    The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy!
–Psalm 34:8

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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Dave Hurst

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be a member of a Church that clings to Wesleyan theology and the shared belief that while all of us are sick with sin, relief awaits us in the form of a loving God, standing upon the porch of a house called Grace. I am thankful for a bishop who maintains focus upon the mission of the UMC — to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world — and who is enabling local churches to do so. And I am thankful for my local church, which has embraced my new… Read more »

Drew McIntyre

I am grateful for the UMC because it holds together what so many other parts of the Christian family tree pull apart: Scripture and Tradition, word and sacrament, love of God and love of neighbor, “knowledge and vital piety.” I am grateful that we are a global, big-tent denomination, with all the messiness that entails. I’m also grateful for the many people, laity and clergy, who have showed me grace, and what it means to live by grace. Lastly, I’m thankful that God is not through with His people called United Methodists.

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