Our Harvest Homecoming is this coming Sunday at Aldersgate. I am so excited about a celebration of this church’s ministry and a return of old friends. I am most excited for you all to hear Reverends Tom and Molly Wilkes. Tom was pastor here many years ago when they were a young couple. In the nineties, we became close personal friends and they continue to be cherished friends for me. They have retired to the Landrum area and have a home in Junaluska. We don’t see each other often enough, but it is always wonderful when we do get together.
Reflecting on the first Thanksgiving for the Pilgrims, they really did not have many reasons to be thankful. They were ill prepared for life in a cold, unforgiving wilderness. They came expecting the climate of England and brought plants and items suited for village life in England. The first year many of the first colonists died of illness. When the ship returned in a year, some returned home. Survival in that wild land they were so ill prepared for must have seemed hopeless. But they still found a reason to be thankful.
Reading my devotion last week, one of the stories was from a woman whose husband was battling a brain tumor. Things were difficult for her husband, Lynn, and she said he was using the word “hopeless” more frequently. Their oncologist was listening to the quality of life concerns and made a powerful statement of thankful, faith-filled living. He swiveled in his chair and said, “I treat your cancer but I also treat you as a person, and it’s important to feel hopeful about something in life. In fact, if you reach the end of a day and can’t think of the reasons you are glad you lived through that day, we need to make some changes.”
She said they went home, and at the end of the day she would ask her husband, “Why are you glad you lived through this day?”
No matter how difficult this year has been, all of us are blessed in some way. Can you see the blessings before you? Come to church and give thanks to the Creator who has so blessed and sustained us and find HOPE!
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you.” Ephesians 1:18