Worship Preview 11.20.22 "Holy Days: Giving Thanks!"

This Weekend: Sunday at 10:30am “Holy Days: Giving Thanks”

Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, and Acts 17:16-31 with Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching.

Last week we talked about recognizing God’s presence and Ecclesiastes’ beautiful celebration of the fullness of time – life that happens between the apparent opposites of “a time to tear down and a time to build…a time to weep and a time to laugh…” and we also talked a bit about the Christian calendar and the cycle of seasons. This Sunday marks the end of the Christian Year – the Sunday before Thanksgiving in the United States is celebrated as Christ the King Sunday in churches around the globe. Then the next Sunday starts the season of Advent – a time of preparation for Christ’s arrival – both as a babe in the manger at Christmas and again at the end of the age. I suggested last week that we don’t really know what comes next – and that’s not our task right now. Right now is a time to live – and live this life. We live this life with confidence that there is something more, but exactly what that is… is not our business right now!


As we enter into the holy days of Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and then our secular calendar’s New Year, I will invite us to continue thinking about these themes. The apparent opposites we live between and how we recognize and respond to God in the midst of this life. Our culture is very, very good at dividing and drawing lines. We already begin to hear debates about when it is okay to put up Christmas décor or listen to music – and about what greetings are acceptable. It’s hard to really “give thanks” while we are drawing such lines. We often wind up not being very Christlike in our debates. The English word “holiday” is derived from “holy” and “day” – it is a call to recognize and celebrate the sacred. To be thankful, appreciative. To live in awe and wonder and joy – and not just on the holiday but every day! Sunday we will hear a call to “rejoice always and pray without ceasing,” we will hear a call to pray for others and especially our leaders, and we will hear Paul’s challenge to the Athenians to recognize that their “unknown God” is the Creator of all, revealed in Christ – “for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” For me, holidays are about reminding ourselves of that reality and living this life and every day in awe and wonder, love and joy!


Often, we make idols of our own opinions and preferences – and put them in place of God. We make the holidays about busy-ness and what we want, instead of an invitation to and recognition of the Holy among us – and that we live among. Sunday, we will prepare ourselves to approach this holiday season and the coming new year with true thanks-giving!


No matter where you are on your journey of faith, you are invited to join in worship and celebration at 10:30am at 301 S. National, coming just as you are with your questions, doubts and hopes - and to experience the transformative, healing love and grace of Christ - which makes us whole. Visit www.firstumcfsks.org/newvisitorsfor more information on what to expect.

This Week: There is no Feeding Families meal this week, however, the Elks lodge hosts a community Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, Nov 24th 11:30am – 1:30pm at 111 W. 19th street in Fort Scott – drive by or dine in. They do accept freewill donations for the meal. Call the lodge at (620) 223-5821 for more information.

Pastor Christopher’s Community Office Hours: will return next week. Happy Thanksgiving!


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