Giving Thanks to God

This week we had two memorial services for church members who recently departed this life. Lib Barrett’s service was on Monday. Sometimes around the church we talk about how we too often learn interesting things about people only after they die. That was true of Lib. I’ve talked to no one here who knew that she had a photography studio before she moved here and sometimes hung out of airplanes taking aerial photographs! And at her service, at her request, a jazz combo, which included her son John on drums, played…first, they played a piece composed for her, then, at the end of the service, a rousing rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” It all made for a great celebration of her life and of our faith.

Boyd Medford’s memorial service was on Tuesday. Unlike Lib, Boyd was a native of Haywood County. Did you know that he was so determined to make his contribution to his country’s war effort that he convinced his mother to sign permission for him to enter the Navy at age 17? Boyd loved these mountains and gardening, horseback riding, and fishing. And he loved bluegrass and traditional music, and, I’m told was the best clogger around! So, of course, there was bluegrass music at his service.

I’m so glad that we have “room” within our church for such various expressions of music and faith. Every Sunday we express that, with the organ the dominant instrument in the sanctuary services, and the praise band’s instruments in the gym. Different styles, but as the scripture says, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6)

We are, as Tom Brokaw has reminded us, rapidly losing members of “the greatest generation” who knew the hardships of a Great Depression and made significant sacrifices for their country in WWII. We know this generation also didn’t hesitate to make great contributions to their church in so many ways. So “thank you” to all of you who still remain, and may the rest of us take inspiration from their commitment and dedication. And let us be grateful  that they leave us with the knowledge that we do not all have to fit into one small mold, in which case we would miss the richness of diversity that we enjoy and by which we receive blessing upon blessing.

This Sunday we’ll hear the story of Jesus’ “first miracle” or “sign” as John’s Gospel has it (John 2:1-11). Jesus attended a wedding…and when the wine gave out, at his mother’s insistence, he turned water into wine…lots of wine, and the finest quality to boot! What on earth could this possibly mean for us? We’ll ponder that and give thanks to God. And I’ll urge you to attend the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial service on Sunday at 3:00 in our sanctuary. What a privilege for us to host this service! Let’s turn out and provide a great example of “welcoming ALL!”

See you Sunday,



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