‘Give us this day, our daily bread’
Published 1:24 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Thanksgiving message: Focus on blessings can be antidote to worry
Approximately 75 people attended a Community Thanksgiving Service sponsored by the Andalusia Area Ministerial Association and hosted by First United Methodist Church Tuesday night.
The event featured a combined community choir of more than 40 voices, and nine ministers, and concluded with a reception in the church hall.
The Rev. Dr. Cindy Howard, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, preached the sermon, based on Matthew 6:25-33, which admonishes the reader not to worry.
“I confess, I am a worrier,” Howard said, adding that she worries about all kinds of things.
“The gospel is very clear about worry,” she said. “Jesus is very clear about worry. Jesus said, ‘I tell you, do no worry about your life.’
Howard said those who worry might like to ask Jesus some questions about that.
“The first question might be, ‘Jesus, why don’t we need to worry? Frankly, I’ve got a lot to worry about.’
“The gospel tells us we can trust God. He takes care of birds and clothes the flowers. He loves and cares for everything God has created. He loves and provides for us. We do not need to worry.
“Our brothers and sisters in other religious traditions have concluded the same thing,” she said, quoting Mahatma Gandhi, who said, “There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.”
Another question, she said, might be how someone could cultivate that kind of trust in God.
“Jesus answered that in our gospel reading, too,” she said. “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Howard said one of the most powerful tools for working with God in the world is the use of the Lord’s Prayer.
“The more I pay it consciously, the more I think it is not only a model for how we should pray, but model for how we should live, as well,” she said. “It can shape our lives, and our community. It can help us cultivate trust in God, and let go of our anxiety and worry.”
Breaking down the lines of the prayer, she said, “Give us this day, our daily bread. We can trust God because we know that God provides. We are blessed to have what we need, and this can be a check on our greed. “This can be the antidote for our worry about always getting more. It is a way to learn to share with those who do not have enough.
“It is strange the holiday on which we thank God for our blessings, many people can’t wait to get to the local store to start buying more things before Thanksgiving is really over.”
“As we come to Thanksgiving, we should take this prayer to our heart,” she said.
Other ministers participating in the service were the Rev. Derwood Cleland, Harmony Baptist Church; the Rev. Leroy Cole, Covington Baptist Association; the Rev. Lee Crowder, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church; the Rev. Ed Ganus, Philadelphia Baptist Church; the Rev. Dr. Clyde Northrop, Salem Baptist Church; the Rev. Reginald Scott, jail ministry, Covington Baptist Association; the Rev. Dr. Jason Thrower, First United Methodist; and the Rev. Graham Tucker, law enforcement chaplain.