Returning thanks...

This has been a FULL and rich week of returning thanks:

+ It began with the sudden death of a man who has been a GIANT in caring for the community in Pittsfield in a populist way. He was the husband and father of a few of my members and they are still in shock over the loss. We buried him on Saturday and there were close to 300 at the funeral liturgy. I give thanks to God for men and women who care enough to give their lives in service to others in this age of the bottom line. I also give thanks to all those at church who worked so hard to host a HUGE reception: all the food, love and hospitality was a blessing and I am grateful to God for all your work.

+ As noted in another blog, not only did we create our first "musical mosaic" but we got my show "Sunday Street" on local public TV today. We have a ways to go before we get into the groove, but it is a start... and I give thanks to Paul for working so hard to make it happen.

+ In worship today there were a host of guests - two men from the Congo, a few folk who joined us for Christmas Eve and have been back almost every week since with their children, a few women and men who have relocated to the area and are searching for a community of faith grounded in "grace and accountability" - as well as a few folk who felt called to worship with us after yesterday's funeral. I give thanks to God that in spite of our frailties and imperfections - maybe even because of them - these folk sense something authentic going on within and among us.

+ I give thanks to my music leaders and choir who took a big step today and left the traditional choir loft to sit among the congregation. Not only did they strengthen singing in their new locale, but they were able to be a part of the interactions. I give thanks to God for their willingness to move beyond what is comfortable.

+ And my dear bandmates did a ROCKIN' good job on both "Siyahamba" as well as "Hands" - it was powerful, beautiful and tender and I give thanks to God for their gifts and willingness to make music together.

This coming Sunday will be our annual meeting - which is more than just a business meeting of the laity (although it is that) - it is a time to take stock of where we have been and where we sense God's spirit leading us. This tune by Carrie Newcomer gets it right for where I think we are being called...

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