Lectionary Reading for Sunday: Matthew 23:1-12 (NRSV)
We associate quite a bit with November.
Sports fans think about Bedlam which usually occurs during the month and fans of the Cowboys and Sooners usually pay a little more attention to the hype in the upcoming week.
For the shoppers, there is Black Friday, when the retail stores finally get into the black for the year financially. This usually involves lots of lines, lots of sales, and more than a little bait and switch for the big box stores.
For Oklahomans, pecans usually begin to fall this month and can be collected for some tasty snacking (or pies if you are crafty in the kitchen like my mother-in-law). I am reminded of these because we have several pecan trees on the church property.
Nature lovers enjoy the fall foliage turning brilliant colors. The leaves used to change in October but that month seems to be warmer now. I know because I swam in an unheated outdoor pool more than once within the last couple of weeks. So November has become the month for seeing all the variations of orange, red and yellow.
Aside from all of these things, I think most Americans associate November with Thanksgiving. Children perform in plays involving pilgrims. Turkeys abound and we usually feast with family.
Growing up, we spent a lot of Thanksgivings in Houston, Missouri. My mother's mother lived there and we had all of the usual suspects on the menu: turkey, ham, green beans (hers were better than any I ever had), sweet potatoes, hot rolls (I liked to put the cranberry sauce on mine) and of course, dessert. Pumpkin pie was always a staple during this holiday with a lot of Cool Whip dolloped on top!
I have pretty good memories associated with all of these things. I am grateful for my family as they shaped me in important ways. They taught me gratitude and I try to maintain a grateful attitude.
This month, we will look at a sermon series on thanksgiving. Being thankful has all kinds of benefits. We are happier when we count our blessings. We are healthier too. Being grateful deepens your relationships and allows you to go father in your career. So how do we develop thankfulness?
This month, we will be looking at the gospel of Matthew from the lectionary and this particular Sunday, we will examine how thanksgiving takes humility. It also happens to be All Saints Sunday (another thing the religious may associate with November) and we will remember our loved ones who have died in the past year. Our gratitude should extend to these friends and family whom we appreciate and whom we miss.
I hope you'll take the time to join us for worship if you're in town. We now worship at 8:30, 9:45 and 11 am in the sanctuary and 10:50 and 7 pm in Wesley Hall - five chances to cultivate your thankfulness! And of course, if you miss them, you can check out our livestream on Facebook which can be engaged at any time. I'm looking forward to a November where we realize our many blessings!