Give thanks in all circumstances — through the risen Christ

From Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).

And so I do. I give thanks first of all for the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I give thanks for the freedom of justification by grace through faith. I give thanks for Baptism. I give thanks for God’s daily grace and forgiveness. I am even learning to give thanks for trials.

I give thanks for our Synod. I give thanks for the fellowship. I give thanks for the proclamation of the Gospel. I give thanks for the proper administration of the Sacraments according to God’s will. I give thanks for love for sinners shared as a reflection of God’s love. I give thanks for our national mission. I give thanks for our international mission.

I thank God for you, for your partnership in the Gospel, your confession of our Lutheran doctrine, your prayers for the Synod and even your prayers for this sinner. I thank God for your ministry. I thank God for every congregation in your district.

And most of all, I give thanks that “God’s kingdom comes even without our prayer” — that it is not contingent on sinners like me, but it is by His grace and mercy in the “it is finished” of Jesus’ work on the cross and through His resurrection. I give thanks that God’s Holy Word and Sacraments are pure gift.