A message from Bishop Jon V. Anderson
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
– 2 Corinthians 5: 7
God continues to create new…
…moments of beauty,
When we celebrate Thanksgiving, we remember and give thanks for what has happened in our lives. We remember our ancestors, times with family, and major developments in our lives and communities. Farm people and other people give thanks for the literal harvest of food (even in challenging years like this) or the other harvests God makes possible for our life.
Thanksgiving can be a time of nostalgia for what was and seasons of our life that have passed. It can be a time of grief when we are deeply aware of the absence of someone or capacity we have lost. It can be a time of quiet or communal evaluation of the state of our life, community, congregation, country and world.
Join me in pondering all of the new creations of God that surround us. Our living God is at work in our lives, communities, congregations and world. I am thankful God opens our future, calls us towards God’s preferred future and even pushes us when we get stuck in the present or past to become the children of God we are created to be.
Look around for the new creations and people. I give thanks to God for the….
…smell and joy of holding a newborn baby created in one of the miracles of life.
…the joy of seeing grandchildren and children’s lives unfold.
…new stories that surface in our families that help us to better understand our history and identity.
…new friends God has planted in my life in routine and surprising ways.
In the vital lives of our congregations, I give thanks for all the ways God is creating new life…
…the new neighbors in our community, some of whom might become part of our community of faith and others who we will walk alongside and love.
…all the newly baptized young, old, and those in discernment about receiving the gift of baptism who are in their childhood, teenage, middle age, or elder stages of life.
…all the seekers who wonder what it means to follow Jesus and show up occasionally with new questions.
…all the new faces of people who have not been at worship for a long while, whom God somehow invites and brings back to our communities of faith.
… all the people who are new to serving in leadership of our congregations and institutions.
….all those who might be invited to serve, enjoy community, learn about the faith, and contribute to our communities of faith as they are able.
…those who help us faithfully remember our core identity in Christ, while calling us to innovate and find ways to serve the mission field of today.
In the life of our synod I give thanks for
….all our new rostered ministers and those praying about God’s call to serve as a rostered minister.
….new leaders like our Synod Vice President Ferman Woodberry and all the new people willing to serve on our boards, committees, and tables.
….new synod staff members like Pr. Dee Pederson who brings new eyes, questions and energy to your synod staff.
…new initiatives or partnerships like our shared project with Gustavus and Southeastern Minnesota Synod called The Continuous Growth Pathway.
I give thank for things that agitate or stir up our lives like,
…new technology that you struggle to learn and then can’t imagine living without.
…new ways of understanding our history and life like our awareness that Native People see our Thanksgiving tradition with different eyes than we do.
….our denomination’s deepening commitment to challenge the racism in ourselves and our world.
…the call to work against violence against women and all people.
…wrestling with how we care for creation and love those who are forced to flee their homes because of danger.
I love to grow flowers and plants. I love to watch the amazing complexity of flowers unfolding, plants being restored to health or pruned plants taking off in new life. Our creating God loves to grow and tend the garden of creation. Thanksgiving is a time to ponder, remember, dream and celebrate the promise that our God continues to create- each of us, our communities, our country and our world.
The First Article: On Creation I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
What is this? or What does this mean? I believe that God has created me together with all that exists. God has given me and still preserves my body and soul: eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties. In addition, God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and farm, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property—along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life. God protects me against all danger and shields and preserves me from all evil. And all this is done out of pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all! For all of this I owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.
Martin Luther’s Small Catechism – Explanation of 1st Article of the Apostle’s Creed