On Tuesday night First Baptist and Second Congregational Church (in the north part of town) had a Community Thanksgiving Service. There was a branch placed in a pot. Everyone got a paper leaf that had a piece of yarn looped through it, kind of like an ornament. On this leaf we all wrote what we were thankful for. We shared our thankfulness with one another. I was moved by this sharing time.
Chris and I didn't want to share the same thing, so I wrote that I was thankful for my family (which has grown since last Thanksgiving). Chris wrote about being thankful for our church family. We are both thankful for all our families.
In the last few months I have a much more real sense of what Paul is talking about when he uses the image of family for the church. God has given me great comfort through the book of Romans. Paul writes, "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory" (Romans 8:14-17 NIV). The sharing in Christ's sufferings part shows me that at First Baptist we are indeed a family of God!
Thank God we are in this faith journey together.
This is written by Kathleen Blackey, follower of Jesus and co-pastor at First Baptist Church.