From the Pastor’s Desk

November 2nd, 2017 by Kali Lewis

According to a medieval legend, God once sent two angels to the earth on a special mission, with each one of them carrying a basket. One angel was assigned to gather up all of the prayers of petition, and the other was assigned to gather up all of the prayers of thanksgiving.

The first angel returned very quickly, and her basket was filled to overflowing with requests. “Ah, yes,” reported this angel, “the people of God have remembered well the Bible’s counsel: ‘Ask, and you shall receive.’” Yet the second angel was gone a long time, and when she finally returned, her basket was nearly empty. “I had a hard time finding people who pray prayers of thanksgiving,” she said quietly.

Like everyone else, I too have plenty of petitions to place in the first angel’s basket, including a petition for peace with justice in this great nation. I have a petition that God will inspire and empower each of us to be not part of the problem, but rather part of the answer, which I believe is forever and always blowing in the wind, that wind which is the Holy Spirit of God. I have a petition that all of the subtle systemic aspects of racism will be both honestly recognized and courageously overcome. I have a petition that every protest will clearly seek to address the problems which all of us have created together and which all of us need to correct together without creating distractions that lead us away from this task. I have a petition that we will seek what Martin Luther King, Jr. once called a “double victory” of freedom for oppressed and oppressor alike, and that each and every protest will always be ultimately rooted in that divine love for all humanity which casts out human fear. Also, I have a petition that we will all recognize the truth the Franciscan monk Richard Rohr expressed when he wrote, “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.”

At the same time, I do not want to neglect the second angel’s basket, as we are all often tempted to do. I want to give thanks for a God Who steadfastly refuses to give up on any of us—a God Who is forever and always at work for good: forming, reforming, and transforming the world, the church, and every human heart. I want to give thanks for the privilege of being called—along with all my sisters and brothers—to be not passive  spectators but active participants amidst the ongoing struggle for peace with justice in our personal relationships, our neighborhoods, and our world. I want to give thanks for the strength God graciously promises to us amidst that struggle. Further, I want to give thanks for Manistique First United Methodist Church who offers the world a glimpse of people who keep humbly seeking to learn to live together in love, whose mission is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by proclaiming the good news of God’s grace and by exemplifying Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor, thus seeking the fulfillment of God’s reign and realm in the world.”

Yes, I have my petitions, but I also have my prayers of thanksgiving … and not just on the fourth Thursday in November.