I’m not a big Halloween fan (too much sugar & scary stuff!) and Christmas is a holiday I enjoy, but my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. What’s not to like about a holiday that involves family getting together, food being shared and eaten, laughter, games, and even some shopping before it is all over? I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving! And as you give thanks, please remember our churches, our laity and laity leaders, our District team, all our clergy, and our United Methodist Church. I will be giving thanks for all of you!
I have spent the last several weeks and will spend several more weeks, interviewing each of the clergy on our District. I can honestly say we have profoundly gifted clergy in the Arlington District and I am proud to work alongside each of them. They are each uniquely different, but to a person, they hold to the calling that God has put in their lives to serve in this counter-cultural way of working and living. Their families feel the stress and strain, and their lives are often busy 24/7, so I am urging all of them to take all of their four weeks of paid vacation time and to schedule it out for the year (July 1 – June 30) so that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of work. As we’ve seen from recent studies, working fewer days and getting more rest can greatly increase productivity, so I have encouraged them to find time for Sabbath, for family, for healthy habits and for rest. I’ve also asked them about their self-care practices, and their spiritual disciplines, as well as how they are developing themselves as disciples of Jesus Christ.
So how would you answer some of the questions I’m asking clergy about their lives? How could you start a Thanksgiving dinner conversation around these areas we ALL need to consider for health and well-being?
- What self-care actions are you taking this year?
- What spiritual disciplines are you working on?
- Who are you looking to for support and growth in your work and life? For our clergy, we ask about clergy-peer learning groups)
I leave you with this blessing & thanksgiving that Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica:
12 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-24)
*No turkeys were harmed in the production of this newsletter.