I’m writing this just a few short hours prior to the much-loved and time-honored annual gratitude ceremony that gives us all permission to engage fully in that (deadly) sin we call gluttony. Yes, I will sit at a table not unlike many of you and feast like there is no tomorrow. I’m not going to lie. It’s going to be awesome. And I will indulge shamelessly because that’s what we call Thanksgiving.

Actually, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It seems a bit less commercial than others, and at the heart of it, it mostly involves spending time with those that I love. And yes, there is the food. But the reason why I love Thanksgiving so much is that it really does inspire me to think about the many things I am blessed with in my life. Each year the list is long and full, and this year is no different. There’s a part of me that wants to list all those items on my list, but the one that really trumps everything else that I want/need to mention is this new community we call EMBRACE CHURCH.

The past few months of launching this ministry has been challenging. But more so, these months have been filled with joy and laughter and immense hope. Daily, I find myself inspired by the love and commitment of those that have chosen to take this journey with me. You all know who you are. And I simply want to say thank you to all of you from beneath the bottom of my heart. Actually, so often these days I feel my words lack the depth of emotions I feel. Like people often say, words cannot express enough…

I wish I could open up my heart so you can see all the things that I am feeling these days. Inside of me, I have been blessed with immense gratitude and beauty because of the inspiration of the people around me. And the words may be simple and they certainly cannot capture all of what I want to express, but let me just say: Thank you, I love you, I am blessed by you.

The Apostle Paul writes these words to the church in Philippi: I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-5)

Exactly. Every time I remember all of you, I give thanks as well. And I am led to moments of prayer and praise and believe that the co-working that we are experiencing together will have eternal impact.

I pray that this day will overflow in joy, grace, love, peace, hope, beauty and gratefulness for each and every one of you. There are going to be so much more to come…

Happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

With peace and love,

Pastor Sam

PS… the photo above was taken this past Monday when several of our EMBRACE members went to serve at the  Covenant House Thanksgiving Dinner. Covenant House is an outreach serving homeless teens in the Bay area. If you would like to find out more about this great organization: www.covenanthouse.org