Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 19, 2014

Give thanks to God in all things

By The Rev. Maureen Howard, Immanuel Lutheran Church | Nov 21, 2013

The corn and soybeans are just about harvested. The grass has turned from a vibrant green to a dormant brown, more leaves are on the ground than on the tree branches, it is dark when we sit down for supper, the frost on the morning grass, and the nip in the north breeze are all signs that winter is coming to southeastern Iowa. As I sit and write, the rain is falling at a steady pace and snowflakes are in the forecast for a second time. Nature is quieting down and preparing for the long winter ahead.

As nature is beginning to rest and rejuvenate, people are caught in a whirlwind of preparation. People are busy getting ready for the national day of giving thanks: Thanksgiving. Homes are decorated with Indian corn, pumpkins, gourds, children’s hand-print turkeys, and a pilgrim or two. We are anticipating the arrival of family and friends, the kitchen is being stocked with needed supplies, and our mouths are watering with the anticipation of turkey. Thanksgiving will be a day family and friends come together and gather around a table, laden heavy with rich foods. But, before the first forkful is eaten, there is silence and heads are bowed. Our voices will gather together and rise up in song-filled praises of thanks to our Loving Creator and Lord: to God. All voices gathered around Thanksgiving tables will echo the Psalmist’s prayer of thanks to God: I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever (Psalm 86:12). Give thanks to God if this has been a year of great joy and celebration. For all our blessings flow from God. Give thanks to God if this has been a year of trials and tribulations. For God’s steadfast love has gathered you into His eternal arms and is cradling you at God’s bosom. Praise be to God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is good, God is very good!

The Washington Area Ministerial Association (WAMA) is hosting a Thanksgiving Eve (Wednesday, Nov. 27) worship service at Immanuel Lutheran Church (1226 E Washington St. in Washington) at 7 p.m. Join your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as we worship our Triune God in praise and thanksgiving for the blessings that God has given us. What a wonderful opportunity we have to worship ecumenically and stand unified as one Body of Christ. After the service a dessert social will follow.

If you do not have a regular church home, I warmly invite you to worship at Immanuel Lutheran Church. For the entire month of December we have one Sunday worship service, 9 a.m. Join us for Christmas Eve candlelight and Holy Communion worship 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. All people are welcome and invited as we gather all generations around the Word of Christ to experience God’s norm of love and grace.

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