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Come as a stranger, leave as a friend

Let heaven celebrate! Let earth rejoice!

Let the sea and everything in it roar!

Let the countryside and everything in it celebrate!

Then all the trees of the forest will shout out joyfully.”

Psalm 96:11-12

There are so many simple things in life for which we can be grateful. As I am writing this month’s “ponderings,” I am sitting on my deck at 7 a.m., with a hot cup of coffee. For this time of year, it is very comfortable sitting outside.  As the sun reaches into the sky, it splashes the tops of the trees in my front yard. I love how the tips of the trees are illuminated first.  It is a great metaphor, stand tall, wait for the light, and you will be bathed in its warmth and comfort. I am grateful for God’s creation this time of year. Despite all of the rain, we have had a spectacular display of color this autumn. In fact, the reds are more brilliant against a grey sky, another metaphor for another time. 

I have found myself growing more and more grateful for our congregation. With each passing month, I am still mystified and profoundly grateful for the volunteerism which keeps this church going so strong. I am grateful for the relationships that are deepening. I am grateful for the care I receive from you. I am grateful for the rhythm and peace I have found among you. I am grateful for the example of Christ which springs forth when someone new walks through our doors.

I am also grateful for the persistence our church leadership has shown. They have been persistent in planning my Installation. It seems there is yet another event in the future which will officially make me Pastor at Marlborough Congregational Church.

Last December we all participated in my Ordination, which made me a Reverend. An Installation is more intimate. An Installation tells me, you, and the community that “I belong here.”  The Installation grants a sense of permanence and belonging to a specific location, our location, on 35 South Main Street. I hope you will mark your calendars for January 21 at 2 p.m. This will be our celebration and our commitment to the future of our church!

Gratitude seems to be an overused word. It shows up everywhere–journals, home décor and even t-shirts. Let us find time for God centered gratitude as we enter into the season of Thanksgiving and Advent. Let us imagine our lives if the Christ child never came to live among us. Amen.

Pastor Val

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