Hagerstown Church of the Brethren
15 S. Mulberry St., Hagerstown, MD 21740
Phone: 301-733-3565 * FAX: 301-733-3598

"Church in the Heart of the City with the City at Heart"
Continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.

From Pastor Twyla's Desk - November 2021

Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” (Luke 12:15)
"This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you.” (John 15:12-14)  “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)  

Tis the season of Thanksgiving. Although we should express our gratitude to God  year-round; we place more emphasis on it at this time of year because we have a special day on the calendar called Thanksgiving. Many of us will gather with family and friends for a delicious meal…maybe play some games or watch football…or maybe nap after gorging ourselves with turkey, known to be full of tryptophan. Ah…what a delightful day!
However, it is good for us to keep this pleasure in perspective. One thing to keep in  mind is that there are many who are not looking forward to having a Thanksgiving with these delights. Sorrow, poor health, financial challenge can put a damper on celebrating Thanksgiving and feeling thankful. This is not said to make anyone feel shame or guilt for enjoying the holiday; but perhaps, this reminder will inspire us to be generous with some expressions of understanding and hope through acts of kindness.
No matter our circumstances, we all have reasons to be thankful. I chose the three  verses above to guide some of our thoughts as we prepare our spirits for Thanksgiving. 
The scripture from Luke challenges us to loosen our hold on our desire for things.  We surely should be grateful for whatever we possess, but that which we have should not overtake us with pride and greed. As the verse says, we are not defined by what we have. God finds the essence of who we are as He looks into our hearts and sees the results of what motivates our words and actions. Thanking God for what we have means recognizing with grace that which we have, and at the same time offering to God opportunities to bless others through that which we’ve been given.
The second scripture I’ve chosen for this thanksgiving reflection is to remind us of  the blessings we receive through our friendships with others; particularly those with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Friendship is one of the greatest gifts we can be given in our lifetime. However, it is not a free gift. As the scripture reminds us, long-lasting friendships require empathy, effort, consistency, forgiveness…all of which are expressions of love. We have received this great gift of love from our Savior, Jesus Christ; our dearest and truest friend. As we love others, then, as he loves us, we are drawn into a deeper friendship with him. The friendship we have with Jesus, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ should not be taken for granted. We should offer our gratitude for these important relationships. 
And finally, the third scripture I chose for this reflection, is to remind us to give  thanks for the opportunities we have to serve others…to answer God’s call to help build God’s kingdom. What a privilege we have in blessing others through words and deeds! It is not always easy to make the sacrifice of our time, energy, and resources to do what God needs us to do. But the rewards are great. We please God when we reach out to others. And, our faith is strengthened as we reflect on how the Holy Spirit has empowered and used our words and actions to bless others. Yes, we are blessed to have occasions to serve, and we should give thanks to God for these opportunities 
There is much for which to be grateful. I encourage you to take some time to reflect  on the verses I have shared here with you. Think about the specifics in each area as you’ve experienced them over the past year. Then, pray with thanksgiving to God for the blessings that you have received. We all have reasons for offering our thankfulness to God. Praise and thanksgiving to our glorious God…and our Savior, Jesus Christ!
Happy Thanksgiving, Pastor Twyla