November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks

            One of the lectionary texts for the week of Thanksgiving comes from Psalm 126: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.”  Giving thanks is at the heart of our faith. Indeed, one of the two sacraments of the church that Baptists observe, the Eucharist, comes from the Greek word which means “I give thanks.” Gratitude is an index of spiritual health. If we cannot find reasons for thanksgiving, we are quenching the Holy Spirit who always seeks to well up in us a grateful heart.

            I want to express a public thanksgiving for the following:

·         The historic Baptist witness to liberty of conscience and separation of church and state—and for those forebears that sacrificed for these freedoms;

·         A loving church family, Prairie Baptist, that bears our household along through prayer and tangible expressions of care;

·         A gifted and diligent Central faculty and staff with whom I am privileged to work daily;

·         Earnest students who create community and seek to be formed together after the ways of Christ;

·         The rich diversity of our alums, serving faithfully across the nation;

·         Donors who invest in Central’s mission “with glad and generous hearts”;

·         The joy of theological education as we prepare women and men to lead congregational life and offer transformative ministries in the world;

·         A growing sense of global Christianity through our relationship with Myanmar Institute of Theology;

·         The beginning of construction on our campus!

On a very personal note, I give thanks that my Aunt Jerry (96) will get to witness the wedding of her only grandson over the Christmas holiday season. How great our joy!

Over these next few days, remember the words of the prophet Joel: “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you” (2:26). I wish for each of you a season of giving thanks. It is good for the heart.

Molly T. Marshall

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