From the Pastor's Pen

Pastor Sally Devotional 11/23

| November 23, 2021

Dear friends,


I am very much looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.  Most of my immediate family will all be joining Mike and me at our house.  We are hosting, and I think I have the menu planned.  Because most of my family comes from afar, I do most of the cooking.  It is a labor of love for me to cook this dinner, particularly because my various family members all have particular ideas about what Thanksgiving dinner should include. 


For my mother, Thanksgiving must include her traditional bread stuffing cooked “in the bird.”  Thanksgiving is not right if there are nuts or raisins or dried fruit in it.  It has to be her recipe of bread, celery and onions!  My husband doesn’t like the stuffing cooked “in the bird” so I’ll also cook some in an oven pan for Mike.  My father always wants something with apples.  This year we’ll have an apple pie.  Austin and Alicia are vegetarian, so they don’t eat turkey.  I’ll make salmon for them.  Austin also really likes mashed potatoes but he’s agreed we can make roasted potatoes so his brother Terry will eat them.  Terry doesn’t like mashed potatoes.  I’ll also roast Brussel sprouts for Terry who wants some kind of plain vegetables.  No Jell-O salads or casseroles for Terry, although I will include a gelatin salad with cool whip for my mother – another must for Thanksgiving dinner.  My brother Dean doesn’t really care what’s cooked for Thanksgiving dinner as long as there is a lot of food.  He eats enough for three people.  Whew!  Thanksgiving is a matter of balancing needs in my house.


I was thinking about this today as I was pondering the rising Covid case numbers in Elkhart County.  On both Sunday and Monday of this week I’ve been in conversations with various members of our church who wanted to talk about what the church should be doing about the rising case numbers.  Not too surprising the suggestions were in stark contrast with one another on both days.  It occurred to me afterward that I am also trying to balance needs at the church these days.  And of course, it’s not just me.  There is a team of people who meet monthly to talk about what we might do, can do, and should do.  Then their recommendations go to Session where we talk about it all over again.  It’s not a simple process, and I’m sorry to say that there do not seem to be simple solutions.  We keep working away at it, trying to keep people safe and trying to do what we can to return to “normal” as much as possible. 


What pleases me these days is the gentleness with which the suggestions come.  I know lots of people have strong opinions these days, but the people in the Elkhart church usually speak with respect and listen attentively to other opinions.  Thank you so much for this!  Paul writes in Philippians 4:4-5, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”  These are words to live by.  The Lord is near to us when we are joyful, hopeful and gentle with one another.  Let’s keep it up!


Blessings on your Thanksgiving gatherings as you celebrate with loved ones and probably do a little balancing of needs in your own families.  May love be all around you.



Pr. Sally

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