November 2023

 A Cornerstone of Our Mission to "Grow Grace. Live Hope. Serve Love." 

As we navigate through life's ebb and flow, there's an underlying current that sustains us: the
potent blend of gratitude and thankfulness. Together, gratitude and thankfulness are more
than fleeting feelings; they are a lifestyle, a lens through which we witness the world, and most
importantly, a cornerstone to our mission at St. Peter's Lutheran Church to "Grow Grace. Live
Hope. Serve Love."

Paul teaches us in Colossians 3:15-17, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts... And be
thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly...singing to God with gratitude in
your hearts." Here, the Apostle Paul encapsulates the essence of gratitude as a spiritual
discipline, a state of heart that allows and empowers us to grow grace. When we are thankful,
we see God's grace more clearly in our lives. Gratitude is the soil in which grace flourishes.

Gratitude also provides the resilience and strength to live hope. Hebrews 12:28 reminds us,
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so
worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." Hope doesn't deny the reality of suffering,
but it offers a way through it. Being thankful—even when the storm clouds gather—empowers
us to grasp the promise of an unshakable kingdom.

To serve love is a tangible manifestation of grace and hope in action. And it's impossible to
truly serve without a spirit of thankfulness. A thankful heart is a giving heart. When Jesus fed
the 5,000, he first gave thanks for the bread and fish (Matthew 15:36). In the act of
thanksgiving, the ordinary became extraordinary, revealing how gratitude transforms our
service into a divine partnership with God.

So, in the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will
for you in Christ Jesus." Gratitude and thankfulness aren't just for the Thanksgiving table;
they're for every table, every interaction, and every moment.

We grow grace, buoyed by an unwavering spirit of gratitude. Likewise, we live hope,
strengthened by thankful hearts; and we serve love, continually witnessing the transformative
power of being thankful. By embracing gratitude and thankfulness, we better live our mission
to "Grow Grace. Live Hope. Serve Love."

In Christ's Everlasting Love,
Pastor Greg