From Pastor Caroline . . .

During the month of October, we will be exploring gratitude. We experience blessing in
abundance. This is a reality that we can depend on. But there are times when our focus becomes
a bit muddled, and we lose sight of our blessings. This has consequences.

When we are focused on our blessings, when we are aware of the ways that God is at work in us
and in the world around us, we are overwhelmed with gratitude. During these times we cannot
help but be grateful. This gratitude then results in our inability to contain our praise. We are then
drawn into God, and our relationship with God deepens and is strengthened.

Our gratitude is not simply something that we owe God, or something that God demands of us.
Our gratitude is a necessary component to our relationship with the Divine. It is through the
awareness of our blessings and through our gratitude that our ability to love as we are called to
love develops and is then enacted.

It is also through this awareness of our blessings and through our gratitude that we are able to
respond to the call to be joyful, always. Gratitude cultivates joy and I think we could all use a
little more joy.

Joy, remember, is that deep sense of thankfulness and peace in Christ that we receive through
Jesus. It is the peace that surpasses all understanding. Joy is not happiness but rather what we
experience regardless of circumstance. It is the joy of deep transformation and a life that is
focused on the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude brings us to this place of joy in the Lord.

So, if gratitude is so important, we as disciples should spend time developing our sense of
gratitude. We do this as we seek to deepen our relationship with God and grow as disciples who
are called to love and to live out our joy.

These next several weeks we will spend time looking at how we keep our focus on our gratitude.
We are going to cultivate a sense of gratitude in our lives and help our focus to remain on our
blessings. I hope you can be with us for worship over these next few weeks.

With Gratitude,
Pastor Caroline