Faithful Friday – November 24th

Dear Disciple of Christ,

A blessed thanksgiving to you and your family. If you are like many, you may well be doing your best to gather with your family and friends for food and fellowship. We see just how hard it is getting for people to make it home in a few days of travel but they keep trying. In the midst of a world divided and dividing against one another, having a family that, by nature, unites us, is worth maintaining. So too, the faith reflections of our church (“Faith Matters” and Faithful Fridays) are postings that seek to unite us or maintain our unity.   They work to point out the faith we have in the One who brings us all together.

As I’ve been doing these postings over the years, one of my continuing themes has been to recognize how blessed we are by God. Day in and day out, year in and year out, when we pause to consider our blessings, we easily and significantly recognize they come from God. Therefore, daily, we offer our thanks to God, for blessings we know and even those we don’t know. Throughout my life, over and over again, God has graciously blessed me. When I think back on all those years, those blessings rise to the front of my mind. “How blessed we are, not just at Thanksgiving and holidays and occasional times but daily.” So, it is most appropriate that “at all times and in all places, we give thanks to God”. 

When I am reflecting on these years of my life, I see again and again, God’s gracious hand. It is only by His grace that I’m blessed to be able to post these reflections to you today. In fact, it is one of His attributes, His nature – He loves us and sends His angels to keep watch over us. Hebrews (1:13-14) describes them as “ministering spirits”: “But to what angel has God ever said, ‘Sit at my right hand till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet’? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” 

It’s amazing to me how economical God is, sending one angel to impact the lives of many, bringing His love and protection. Those angels can deal not just with people but with things that impact people. So, for example, I remember that Monday morning when I opened the side door of my church in Brooklyn, like I always did. But this time I was hit by a blast of really hot air. There was an odd high pitched sound coming from the basement of the church to accompany the heat, like it was humming or singing. To be honest, being this was Brooklyn, I entered the church with a little “fear and trepidation.” I went down the stairs and across the main hall because the sound seemed to be coming from the kitchen. I was getting really hot by the time I entered it to a really high pitched throbbing sound.

And there they were, two very large, very red, very hot… commercial grade Vulcan stoves! The church owned those two units with two inch gas lines leading to the ovens and the gas jets at four burners per stove. It turns out that the stoves had been left on “full blast” from the AA meeting the night before. If it weren’t for the sturdy construction of those stoves… If it weren’t for the grace of God… If it weren’t for that ministering angel… I expect the high pitched sound I would have heard in our apartment across the street, some time during the night, would have come from the fire trucks trying to douse the flames coming from our church. As one of our families said quite often… “God is good – all the time!” So with just a little more faith than “fear and trepidation,” I took a broom handle to tap each flap to the off position. Slowly but surely the heat abated and the threat dissipated. 

Phew! A fire might well have ended life as we knew it in our little church. The prospect of holding on with so few people working to repair or rebuild the church, to start over… I suppose God (since He is good all the time) could have brought good out of that tragedy if need be. But He was gracious so that the Word and His forgiveness and His love could continue coming from Trinity Lutheran church. Our stove and our church lived to serve another day. That experience reminded each of us that it was God who had planted us to be a witness to His love and grace. We all knew that more personally now and each of us completed our time and talent forms to consciously offer ourselves to His service.

Can you remember times when God graciously protected you and you were able to continue in ministry serving Him? Are you thinking of God’s gracious gift of His Son? (He who did not spare His own Son, will He not give us all things with Him?

Maybe this would be a good time for us to offer thanks again for all His care and use the blessings we have received to glorify Him.!

Peace in His service,

Pastor Johnson

Scripture Readings for Friday, November 24th

Psalm 9:1-14; Job 16:1-21; Matthew 24:45-51