Dear Parish Family
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I picked these verses for a specific reason. There are many verses in scripture which could be used to introduce a Thanksgiving letter, but I felt this put season into our reality. We are in very anxious times. World powers are vying for power and control. The world stage is occupied by characters which seem to care very little for the average human being. Our very planet is under threat from global warming. Unless you live under a rock or in a dream world, you cannot but be anxious. The beautiful pastoral setting of a bountiful harvest seems to be out of place. Is it or is it just what we need to see and hear in times such as these?
Note, in the verse, that “thanksgiving” is placed right in the midst of “requests.” Not at the end. Not as a separate activity. It is right in the middle! It is very much a part of dealing with anxiety. Thanksgiving is not what you give when the prayer is answered but how you surround that request. Thanksgiving is an attitude. It is a way of approaching those things which trouble us and cause us grief and sorrow. It is a way of entering into the peace of Christ which we all should be striving for (Our Baptismal prayer). It is the peace of Christ which enables us to deal constructively with those things or events which cause us anxiety. To be at peace with God and thus at peace with ourselves is the key to dealing with anxiety. As in the text, it does not take away the “reality” but puts it into perspective. It clears our minds to formulate the best ways of coping and overcoming life’s challenges. It strengthens the heart to be able to love while surrounded by all that would destroy love through selfishness and greed. This is exactly the right time to be thankful!
However you celebrate this season, take time to focus on thankfulness. Put it right in your midst of your world, the world as you experience it. Let it be your strength to lift you up and place you in the presence of God. Let the Peace of Christ dwell in you richly now and always.
Blessing and peace be upon you.
The Reverend David Warren