With Thanksgiving

thanksgiving meal photo

Since you may rightly choose not to swing by the blog tomorrow, here’s an advance post.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. —  Philippians 4:6.

On Tuesday, a student shared with the Christian Medical Society (CMS)/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine the encouragement to read the whole verse, i.e., do not stop at [d]o not be anxious about anything, but be encouraged in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. A helpful reminder for those of us who find nothing more stretching to our growth in Christ than the holidays such as Thanksgiving:

  • Travel:  Praying for safe navigation and grace for those who will be on the road and/or in the air.  Praying for patience with questions such as, Are we there yet? Why is this going so slow?  Who is in my way?
    • “More than 40 million people plan to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA, with just more than 1.6 million flying — a 3.5 percent increase from last year.” — Ready, Set: Travel! And Share Your Stories (Mark Memmot. NPR Blog. 11/24/2010)
  • Home: Including extended family gatherings filled with memories of what used to be and can/should be — some in the context of confused, broken relationships.  Praying for grace, patience, healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation to be extended.  Pray for us to truly honor our father and mother and to bless our time with family, even it’s just on the phone or Skype.
  • Classroom: Exams for some today! Praying for students with exams to finish well and not become distracted by the holiday buzz.
  • Lab/research: To finish must be completed projects/papers before departure or continued over the course of the next several days.  Praying for discernment/energy with regard to what really must be completed.
  • Finding space/time:
    • To write what must be completed (or significantly advanced) projects/papers. Praying for discernment/energy with regard to what must be completed.
    • For quiet rest in the midst of too much activity.  Praying for you to find such refreshment.
  • Reconnecting/Finding one’s place in the local congregation:
    • Of one’s youth.  Praying for the challenge of stepping back into a community which isn’t quite the same, especially as one who is not the same as when one left … potentially years ago.
    • Of one’s place of study (maybe a new home congregation).  Praying for you to find you place in the midst of many extended families who are joyously re-uniting, changing the dynamic of the whole congregation.
    • Praying for the people of God to be one and to be hospitable to all.  For one to rejoice in being with the people of God wherever that may be.
  • Blessing the larger world beyond our home, campus, community. Praying for us to give out of our plenty.  Not just finances and trinkets, but to embrace Culture Making lives.

Let us acknowledge our weakness, rest upon the Lord alone, and …

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything,but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)

May our whole life over Thanksgiving, as individuals and a community of faith, be an indescribable testimony to the reality of God in the context of Higher Education.  One which must be explained and shared on campus, on the road, in the air, with family/friends, back on campus as Advent begins.  To God be the glory!

A song for your encouragement …

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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  • Kevin commented on November 24, 2010 Reply

    And let us also give thanks for emancipation. What is often forgotten in the history of Thanksgiving is that Abraham Lincoln moved Thanksgiving from June to November in part to give thanks for the Emancipation Proclamation. So I like to tie thanksgiving to emancipation: to the historical event, as well as to what emancipation more broadly means–being free from all that enslaves us physically, economically, politically, and spiritually.

  • Thomas B. Grosh IV commented on November 24, 2010 Reply

    Thank-you Kevin!

    FYI: Came across the History Channel’s rendering of the history of Thanksgiving, http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving.

    “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” — Psalm 107:1 (NIV)

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