Reverend Kristine A JohnsonRector’s Reflection – November 2021

“It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth…” This is the preface of our eucharistic prayer – and eucharist itself means thanksgiving. One of the most important things we do in worship each week is to thank God for everything. For creation, for the incarnation and all it means, for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and for the many blessings God pours out on us and the whole world.

For us, thanksgiving is not a season; it is a lifestyle.

So how do we give God thanks and praise? Not only with our lips, but in our lives, to use a phrase from the General Thanksgiving, which we have been praying on our Zoom services. November is the perfect month to intentionally practice thanksgiving, and your church community can help.

We can give money. Perhaps the most practical way to give thanks is to offer our financial resources to God’s work in the world, through the church as well as through other organizations that spread love and justice in the world. If you’ve not yet pledged for 2022, please consider how your financial offering can help St. Mary’s be a beacon of God’s love in the world, today and in the future. And be watching for an opportunity to purchase gift cards for families in need at San Pablo Apostol, Seaside, and through Monterey Behavioral Health – our One Starfish Christmas project will be different this year and I hope many of you will participate.

We can give our time. There are many ministries and groups at St. Mary’s who need volunteers. We are highlighting a different ministry each Monday, to help spread the word about the great work that is going on, serving our parishioners and the wider community. Please consider how you might get more deeply involved at St. Mary’s, giving thanks for God’s love by sharing it with others.

We can give our hearts. Giving thanks might be the most powerful way we can participate in our own transformation. God invites us into new life every day, an abundant life. By recognizing and expressing gratitude for the abundance we already experience, we open ourselves to seeing it ever more clearly. This month we celebrate All Saints, where we remember that we are part of the communion of saints, all those who have gone before us in faith. What is our place in that beautiful community? And we celebrate Christ the King, remembering that we worship God above all. And at the end of the month we will enter the season of Advent, a time of waiting and wondering what God would have us bear into the world. As we are transformed, we can be agents of transformation.

I am so thankful to be among you here at St. Mary’s.