Ok, I know that 2022 is not over, but in a sense, it is. We just finished a liturgical year. This past Sunday was the end of the year with Christ the King Sunday. Last year was the Gospel of Luke; this year is the Gospel of Matthew. So, while there's still a little over a month left of 2022, the liturgical year of 2021-2022 is over and we're turning to the next year already. So, with my blog title, I give thanks for the 2022 that's behind us.
I'm thinking this year about relationships. I give thanks for all sorts of family relationships. I give thanks for my parents who brought me here, though they've long left me to fend for myself. I give thanks for my step-mother, who loves me and my family, and who we love like a real mom; in fact, she's been my mom more years of my life than my "real" mom was. With her comes an extended and blended family for whom I also give thanks. I give thanks for my in-laws, also having left us years ago. They were most supportive of Mary and me. I give thanks for Mary's uncle who still lives and with whom I share many affinities, including a penchant for amateur speculative theology.
I give thanks for Mary, my wife, my love, my primary living relationship, my best and longest friend, who shares so much brain space with me and is the easiest person in the world to talk to. This kind of love is beyond the scope of this blog post, but suffice it to say, I wish everyone could experience something like this.
I give thanks for my kids, of whom I am incredibly proud, but also who I trust to to live their lives without my help. I give thanks for my son's spouse and our grandson; though we've known them less time, we love them so very much.
I give thanks for the many relationships still in Atlanta, for friends from my previous life, for philosopher friends, and musical friends and ministerial friends.
I give thanks for new friends here in Pauls Valley, I give thanks for the elders who serve this congregation with me, for the deacons who care for this congregation with me, and for the faithful trustees and others who steward this congregation with me. I give thanks for the older members of the congregation, whose long memories let us go forward grounded in the past ("The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." Proverbs 16:31). I give thanks to the wide eyed youth of our congregation, who keep us from being lame.
I give thanks for the staff: for Jessica who cares for the church inside, and Javier who cares for it outside. I give thanks for Dr. Jack, my trusted colleague, who contributes to the ministry of worship in this congregation and in the community in profound ways through the language and art of music. I give thanks for Tina, my right arm in ministry, who teaches me things and patiently puts up with learning things from me as well; without whom everything in the congregation would break down.
It is my hope this Thanksgiving that each of you would be blessed by as many rich and loving and supportive relationships as I have been.