"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere" (2 Corinthians 2:14).
When I was growing up, my mother’s extended family traveled to Kentucky to decorate the graves on Memorial Day weekend. We would get up very early, jump into our vehicles, and caravan down. We stopped along the way, taking time to picnic together, giving everyone a break from those that were in the same car, i.e. siblings fighting in the back seats!
As I look back upon these memories, I am so grateful for those times of sharing stories, laughter, and tears. These experiences helped shape my understanding of family, what it means to honor loved ones, and how to love each other where we are at on our life journeys. We may not take those annual trips anymore, but I am still deeply connected to my family.
Likewise, I feel deeper connection to each of you as we have traveled into, though, and emerging from this pandemic. It has been an experience – learning new technology; maintaining our relationships through technology (including good old fashion phone calls and notes mailed); and being Jesus Christ’s hope ambassadors to our hurting world.
We have shared our stories, we have laughed, and we have cried. It is in this common shared experience that we have an opportunity to move to a more profound understanding of what it means to be the “church,” to live our lives as a reflection of God’s fulfilled promises in Jesus Christ, and to demonstrate a sense of gratitude in all things.
May this quote from Anne Frank be offered as our prayer of gratitude, “As I lie in bed at night, I end my prayers with the words, Ich danke dir fur all das Gute and Liebe und Schone. (Thank you, God, for all that is good and dear and beautiful.)” Amen.