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Pastor's Message – November 2019

~ Give Thanks ~

O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Dear Members and Friends,

Instead of burdening you with more of my words, it’s long been my habit in November to give you a poem about gratitude—maybe even one that you could use as the table blessing when you gather with your family on Thanksgiving Day.  Here are a few verses from Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem titled quite simply “A Thanksgiving Poem.”  I’ve mentioned Dunbar in a few sermons.  He was the son of freed slaves and one of the first African Americans to achieve fame as a poet.  His stormy marriage ended in divorce after only one year.  He lived to the age of thirty-three, dying of tuberculosis in the spare bedroom of his mother’s home.  Dunbar’s final poem was written out on a piece of notebook paper on a desk in that room, but because his mother kept the room unchanged as a shrine to him, sunlight bleached the poem off the page, and it is now lost to us.  Can you imagine possessing this kind of gratitude amid all the trials of Dunbar’s brief life, as well as the difficulties endured by all black men and women in 19th century America?

Thy mighty hand o’er all the land

Hath still been open to bestow

Those blessings which our wants demand

From heaven, whence all blessings flow.

Thou hast, with ever watchful eye,

Looked down on us with holy care,

And from thy storehouse in the sky

Hast scattered plenty everywhere.

Then lift we up our songs of praise

To thee, O Father, good and kind;

To thee we consecrate our days;

Be thine the temple of each mind.

With incense sweet our thanks ascend;

Before thy works our powers pall;

Though we should strive years without end,

We could not thank thee for them all.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!  And please remember that we are hosting the Fifty-Third Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service here at Bower Hill Church on Tuesday, November 26, at 7:00 p.m.  Participating with us will be our partners in ministry for more than half a century:  Our Lady of Grace (Roman Catholic), Temple Emanuel of South Hills (Reform Jewish) and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (ELCA).  Come and see how the format has changed this year!

In Christ’s Peace,


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