Across the Pastor’s Desk: Begin your days with a grateful heart

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Mary Kaye Ashley

As winter approaches, what do you look forward to? As a newer pastor, every new holy day was one I looked forward to. But over time, the sturdiest experience of joy came to me from celebrating Thanksgiving.

Mary Kaye Ashley

Now, even as some ways of celebrating that day have changed because of what we know historically about colonization, and some places, like Minneapolis, have added an Indigenious Peoples’ Day, for all good reasons, I still look forward to having a day to gather together with friends of faith and celebrated how blessed so many of us are.

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With a war going on in the Middle East, and still one in Ukraine, our attention may be on heart-breaking happenings in our world, (and I am glad that we care about those situations, but I still want to be grateful for having times to be grateful.

When we talk with God as congregations and as families, I hope our attention does include others who have not the basic needs for life, and concerns for what our country and it’s leadership might do to alleviate suffering where and when we can.

But for me, all the ways we endeavor to be active in love seem to start with noticing and giving thanks for the riches we have been given – how about you?

It seems these days that one of our maladies is our busyness, and also, how little time we take to engage with others. Our Surgeon General in the U.S. says that loneliness is a major health problem, ( and it seems so many of us rush by people in our paths, rather than take a few moments to really see others and gratefully acknowledge the services and kindnesses in front of us almost every day.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for doing so, and I hope you are able to be blessed by taking time for one more friend or stranger, for a few deep breaths and remembering what you are truly grateful for, and head into the next few weeks prayerfully, thoughtfully seeing what God has done in your life and continues to do.

At Grace Lutheran in Austin, (2001 6th Av. NE) 507-433-3445, we are hosting a craft afternoon Sunday, Nov. 12, from 1:30-5:30 p.m., but you don’t have to be artistic to join us. Some crafts will be available, and a few snacks, too, but mostly we hope people come for a little time & conversation, (maybe even bringing a project of your own, like addressing Christmas cards, or knitting.) Some of our quilters will be there too. A blessed November to you!

Mary Kaye Ashley is interim pastor at Grace Lutheran in Austin and Oakland Lutheran outside of Albert Lea.