The Great Thanksgiving

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes

This week’s Cliff’s Notes is a guest post by Peter Coelho.

Dear Christ Church,

What are you thankful for? The Thanksgiving season provides each of us, to some degree, with the opportunity to ask ourselves that question. Whether it is around the dinner table, in prayer, journaling or just in conversation with friends, many of us this week will make a specific point of expressing our gratitude.

Of course, as Christians all our days are rightly marked by expressions of gratitude. Yes, we struggle and experience suffering (there’s a place for all those lamentations in the psalms!), but even in the midst of those situations we can rightly say “thank you” in light of what God has done and is doing.

Week in and week out we have the opportunity to remind ourselves, that, in the words of the Book of Common Prayer, “It is a right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” What a radical statement and what radical gratitude! First of all, there is a Father to thank. Second, in every place and every situation it is appropriate to express thanks. Our gratitude is in light of what God is accomplishing through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, in redeeming us and in conquering the powers of sin, death and evil. Even as our own experience might be one of struggle, pain or suffering (and we can honestly express that), expressions of gratitude and joy are still called for in light of the larger story of what God is doing. In every situation the kingdom of God is advancing! His victory is assured! Happy Thanksgiving!

This Sunday will mark our final sermon in the series on the seven deadly, or capital, vices. We’ll be focusing on the topic of anger and I’m excited about the ways the Holy Spirit will be active in our midst, convicting us and drawing us more into the life that Jesus has for us, a life of peace and freedom.

Like many of you I’ve found this series to be convicting in surprising ways. We’re all marked by sin in a myriad of ways, who knew? As we close out this series I’d invite you to prayerfully consider in what ways God might want to reform the habits of your heart and your practices moving forward. As Cliff emphasized in his first sermons on virtue, there are concrete things, practices, we can do to “rewire” the habits of our hearts and live more fully the abundant life that Jesus promises us. What are the actions that God might be calling you to take up?

If you missed last week’ sermon on gluttony, or any of the other sermons on the capital vices, be sure to download them from the Christ Church website.

In Christ (Thankfully!),
Peter