Thanks be to God

Once or twice a year I get the opportunity to write the Pastoral Column for our local newspaper.  (I get to do this because I’m actually a minister, not because they don’t have enough clergy to write the columns:)  

This is relevant only because I have some further reflections about Fair Traders...

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“Thanks be to God” is not a phrase I save for worship liturgy.  I use it often.  Sometimes I even say “Thanks be” and infer God depending on the situation.  I get crazy like that.  

In our family, two of the four of us have just gone back to school.  On the eve of The First Day, we were having a quick supper between buying the elusive trapper on the school supply list and going to Parent Orientation at the Middle School.  These were big times for our little family.  The young two were flying high with an explosive mix of excitement and nervousness and I was rather frazzled.  Now that you know the context, it might not be surprising to learn that I said, “Thanks be to God” about school starting the next day.  

Obligatory first day of school pictures... complete with their own selection of clothing and hair style.  Our monochromatic son asked if he could carry a big rock to balance out the weight of his backpack.  

Obligatory first day of school pictures... complete with their own selection of clothing and hair style.  Our monochromatic son asked if he could carry a big rock to balance out the weight of his backpack.  

Believe it or not, I wasn’t thanking God for my own peace, but for our kids to be able to find peace.  The faster that first bell came, the faster they could settle in and feel a little calmer.  “Thanks be to God” I say.

For some reason, on this occasion after hearing me give thanks so many other times, it seemed that our eight year old didn’t know what I meant.  I said, with some level of hysteria, “I’m giving thanks to God because I’m so glad you get to go back to school tomorrow!  I really am thanking God!!”  He cocked his chin, gave me a look of understanding and we went on.  

Why would my son not have known the phrase ‘thanks be to God’ after hearing it so often?  Is it possible that I don’t say it in a tone of thanksgiving?  Maybe he hasn’t heard us saying it collectively in worship in a way that he has understood thanksgiving.  There could be a lot of other reasons, of course, but these give me pause.  

Perhaps I show snark more clearly than thankfulness!  Holy Moly.  Not good.  

I’ve spent this Pastoral Column reflecting because I wonder if it might be helpful for us all to contemplate the way in which we show that which we feel.  Not just our thanksgivings, of course, but our love/respect/lament/whatever.  Are we actually showing what we are feeling with the words we utter and how we express them?  I promise that I’ll continue reflecting upon it and invite you to do the same, friends.  

Truly, thanks be to God for revelations, for all of the teachers among us and new days.
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Yes, this is the best pop machine ever and yes, that hand written sign does say that the cold pop and water are only $.50.  Lindsborg, friends, is the place to be!

Yes, this is the best pop machine ever and yes, that hand written sign does say that the cold pop and water are only $.50.  Lindsborg, friends, is the place to be!

Sometimes when I’m at the Lindsborg store, I’ll saunter down to our sweet hardware store to buy a pop.  (That is, I add it to my old fashioned charge account that I love so very much.)  We usually banter a bit.  Sometimes they’ll ask me if it is a good day for business.  I’ve always answered truthfully.  Sometimes we will have had one person in and other times ten, but I’m always thankful for every single person who opens our door.  That person could have chosen to pass us by!  That person could have chosen to not come out of their house and walk downtown because it’s 105 degrees with a blanket of water hanging in the air!  That person could have chosen to not come to Lindsborg or not to have stopped by our town on their vacation journey.  That person chose to walk in and give us a look.  I truly am always thankful for whomever has been in the store.  I tell them that over a swig of my favorite soda.

But I don’t know if I’ve ever told you how thankful I am for you!!  Or, if I have, I’m not sure if I’ve communicated it well!!  

Friends, I am SO thankful for your support of Fair Trade and Connected specifically.  It makes a huge difference to people around the world – YOU make a huge difference to people around the world!  And you enable us to keep living into our call of alleviating poverty.  I am extremely thankful for you.  I lift up my thanks to God for you, truly.  If I haven’t shared this with you previously, I’m so sorry!

I hope we can continue going at it together so that more people in impoverished places have solid, safe, ongoing work.  I hope more will join us in this effort.

May it be so.

And thanks be for you, indeed.