I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:3-6)
Someone recently told me that the opposite of despair is thanksgiving. I could have sworn the right answer was faith, but my friend shook her head slowly and smiled. “Think about it.”
And I have.
In the midst of a cultural landscape littered with incessant gun violence, acts of racism, homeless encampments, devastating wildfires, and fear mongering from politicians of every stripe, we are weary.
In the midst of personal loss, health concerns, job insecurities, and relationship strains, we grieve.
Despair is not far away.
And this can be true as well for our places of worship and congregations. A furnace that is on its last legs, a church member who loves to antagonize, a balance sheet that never seems to see black ink, a pastor who has lost their energy, imagination, and perhaps even love.
We can grow weary in the very places where God has called us to be community.
But what if we were to give thanks? Thanksgiving for each one of us who make up Seattle Presbytery, for all those who touch the lives and ministry of our congregations, for all those strangers we have yet to meet? Thanksgiving for the opportunity do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God?
In this season of Thanksgiving, I invite us to give thanks. That, like the writer of Philippians, we pray for one another, confident that the good work begun among us is being brought to completion. And rather than despair, we roll up our sleeves to be the church.
In grace and hope,
Rev. Eliana Maxim
Associate Executive Presbyter