Personally speaking, it’s great timing. The word “thankful” means “full of thanks,” and I’ve been feeling particularly grateful -- full of thanks -- lately. Let me name a few:
First, as most of you know, tomorrow we have the honor of conducting the funeral service for Bob Twigg, who died Monday night after a long and valiant fight against lung cancer.
- I’m grateful that I got to know Bob well over the past five or six years.
- I’m grateful for several long conversations we had when we spent a week together in New Orleans doing Katrina relief.
- I’m grateful for the way he lived his life, and even for the way he died -- consciously choosing to “live, laugh, and love” as much as he could, each day, every day.
- And I’m grateful, as Bob was, for living in a free country. As I’ll probably say tomorrow in the homily, one of the things his wife BJ told me in planning the service is that “Bob loved the fact that he lived in a free country.” Bob was a newspaperman, a journalist, and it’s been my experience that journalists are uniquely patriotic people: because their bread and butter is freedom of the press, they appreciate, perhaps better than the rest of us, the tremendous freedoms of speech that Americans enjoy.
Second, as most of you know, Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. is our annual “Celebration of Giving” potluck supper at Ida Lee, celebrating the conclusion of our Annual Giving campaign. The purpose of the potluck is to hit the pause button in our busy church life for one evening in order to give thanks to God for the place, and people, called “St. James’ Episcopal Church.”
- I’m grateful for the place called St. James’ Episcopal Church -- for the generosity and foresight of previous generations that allow us to use and enjoy the gorgeous physical plant we’ve inherited from them….and I’m equally grateful for the opportunity God has given us to be generous to future generations by leaving this place bigger and better for them to use and enjoy.
- Even more so, I’m grateful for the people who are St. James’ Episcopal Church -- for the deep love that parishioners have for one another and for the way people look out for one another.
- I’m grateful for the generous response we’re seeing so far in this year’s giving campaigns. While we’re encouraged with that response, we need a strong finish this Sunday -- the last Sunday of the fall campaign -- in order to be able to declare success. (Please, those of you who have not yet pledged, do so by Sunday, either by pledging on-line, or by placing your pledge card in the offertory plate on Sunday morning, or by emailing our Financial Administrator Sheri Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org before Sunday noon.)
- I’m grateful for the fact that my wife Mary will have a wonderful “five-day weekend” from teaching school;
- I’m grateful that son Graham will be making his first long weekend visit home since going off to college;
- I’m grateful that all five of us as a family have relaxing time together to look forward to as well as enjoying Thanksgiving Day customs with friends in Bethesda.