Thanksgiving 2018, Wednesday, November 21, 2018

November 21, 2018  

1 Timothy 2:1-7 

The relationship we have between church and state gets complicated. There is a separation between powers, and yet the two powers inform one another. What the nation decides to do (or not to do) effects the life of the Church. What the Church decides to do (or not to do) effects the life of the nation. And so we dance an interesting dance, weaving in and out and around each other.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul encourages that prayers be made for “everyone,” specifically naming “kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:2). Paul believes that, if we pray for our nation’s leaders and our prayers are answered, those leaders will make decisions that benefit everyone.

Paul makes a good point. National, state, local civic leaders—their status as leaders doesn’t exempt them from God’s care and concern. We ought to keep all of our leaders, elected or hired, in prayer. We pray that our leaders decide wisely; we pray that our leaders have compassion for every person. We pray that our leaders lead us toward peace in our nation and in the world.

And we give thanks.

As I was writing this sermon a woman came into my office for a gas voucher. After receiving the voucher she asked if she could have a hug. Of course she could! She said “Thank you. You don’t know how much you help. You are always there…”

We, as a congregation, are here for our community. What we do seems small but what we do really does help.
And so we give thanks.

A gentleman came in for gas. There was a woman with him who had lost her I.D. and had no money, she was about to be evicted. He needed gas in his car so he could drive her around to find the help she needed. We were able to help him help her.

And so we give thanks.

It is easy to forget that the decisions made by kings and queens, presidents and senators, congress people and alder-people and county board people and everyone else leading governments—the decisions they make effect real people in real time. Their decisions affect us. Their decisions affect others, some of whom are suffering. People who are under-employed. People who have been abused or who are living in their cars. People struggling with illness or addictions. People one step away from crisis—or who are in the midst of crisis. Veterans. The disabled.
And so we pray for our leaders.
And we give thanks for all those things our leaders do that are the right things to do. When they act in error, we pray for forgiveness and for clarity, knowing God loves us all and wants us all to know that love.

We give thanks to God for all that has been, all that is, and all that shall be.
We give thanks to God for the love God has for all people.
And we give thanks to God for God’s love for the world.