I love Thanksgiving. I love the food. I love the spirit of gratitude that is evident all around us. And I love the time spend with family and friends. This year I was doubly blessed. Later in the day we got to spend time together as a family; Nicole and I, our boys, my mom, my brother Bill and his family. That was awesome! My nieces are growing up so quickly that it is always a blessing to see them.
But this Thanksgiving was made even more special because I had the opportunity to spend the early part of the day with our church family at our first ever community Thanksgiving dinner. What a great event! The spirit of joy at the dinner was amazing. The outpouring of volunteer help was incredible and many lives were touched.
We had such a great team of volunteers that I was free to just visit from table to table, meet guests and hear their stories. One of the first people I met was a man named George. He heard about the dinner on line. He lives alone. His only family is a daughter in Florida, so he doesn’t prepare a Thanksgiving dinner. But this Thanksgiving he was not alone. He got to enjoy a great meal and made some new friends.
At another table was a single woman whose only son is away at college. Last Thanksgiving she was home alone and truthfully, a little bit sad. But this years she had a great Thanksgiving surrounded by new friends in an atmosphere of joy and love. These are just a couple of stories I experienced. It is hard to express the depth of joy I felt at the dinner. I was so blessed to see the many, many volunteers who gave up a part of their thanksgiving to make this event possible. I was grateful for Laurie Duff and her leadership of our care ministry. And I was overwhelmed by the spirit of Christ-like love that I felt throughout the whole experience. This is what it means to be “For Our Community.” This is what it is to love others as Christ has loved us. I am proud of Rock Church and the heart of sacrifice and generosity that is so evident.
Speaking of proud, before I sign off, there is one more that I want to share with you. A few months ago, Pastor James (our campus pastor in Plaistow) completed the requirements to become a pastor in the United Methodist Church. However, there was one final step, his District Committee on Ministry interview and evaluation. James did great at his interview and was unanimously approved! Part of what makes the Rock such a great church is our amazing team of pastors and leaders. I am grateful for them all.
I look forward to having us all together in worship this weekend for the final message in our “Deeper” series. This has been an awesome series and I know you will not want to miss this Sunday.