Thursday, November 23, 2006


A Special Thanksgiving.

First, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope yours was as good as mine.

I had a unique experience last night. I slept on the floor of our church, right in front of the alter....Let me explain.

You see every year our church has a thanksgiving dinner for our members and friends and their friends.
This started a few years ago when it occurred to me that many in our community have no real family to spend the holidays with. It can be a real "bummer" to spend a holiday alone.
First I invited friends to my house for a thanksgiving potluck dinner. I made the big items, turkey, dressing and gravy, etc and others brought a side item.
Then a few years ago, when our church rented a new bigger place to worship, we suddenly found ourselves with a real commercial kitchen with 4 ovens and a big stove.
So, we held a big dinner and invited lots of people.

Now after 2 years in our own building we are still continuing the tradition. I love to cook and everyone says I'm quite good. So, I cook the big items and everyone else brings sides.
Our new Church home has a bigger kitchen than my house so I cook my portion at church.
Last year I had to get up at 3 am and drive in 40 miles to cook dinner and have it ready on time.( after turning in at 11:30 pm.)
This year I thought that I would try a radical new approach. I decided to spend the night at church.

You see, it sounds simple and logical. Dan and I arrived at church about 10:30. After unloading and making sure that everything was set up we went to bed. I did not have to get up until 5:30 am to get it all ready on time.

Of course we have no sleeping quarters there, but no problem there is a couch in the social hall where Dan slept. I decided that I would try sleeping in the sanctuary. The pew cushions have fairly comfortable pads. I also joked to the pastor that it would not be the first time I have slept in a pew.

Actually, I put the cushions from 4 pews on the floor in the front of the church and made a bed 2 cushions wide and 2 high. It was really quite comfortable.

I turned out the lights and found that there was enough light coming in through the stained glass windows to make it easy to sleep, but I could still see objects fairly well.

As I laid there and looked up at the alter and the cross of my church home from a different perspective a strong feeling hit me.I needed to pray.

First I prayed I'm going to sleep with you tonight Lord. But I immediately realized that I sleep with Him every night. He is always there watching over me.

So, I tried again. I told Him that it was really an overpowering feeling to be there at the alter where I worship him weekly.
Yes, I worship him continually anyway. I talk to him lots of times every day and I thank him for the blessings he gives me constantly. I ask him for help and guidance and for him to bless others.
But this was different....I don't quite know how to explain it.

This time, here I was in our darkened church in front the alter that I love so much.

I felt my soul open up in such a powerful awareness of His presence. I talked to him for a long time.
I thanked him for the everlasting gift of His Grace.
I told him that I am in awe that he loves me in spite of all terrible things I have done in my past.
I told Him that I am so overwhelmed as I look back in retrospect to the dark first 40 years of my life when I denied His existence and declared that I was an atheist.
He was there,loving me, guiding me and leading me to the period of my life since I gave myself to Him. He loved me even though I denied Him!

He equipped me so perfectly for the ministries of service to him that he has led me to now. I feel so unworthy of His love, and I am based only on my own actions, but because He gave his life for me on the Cross I am indeed worthy of His love. His Grace is truly the greatest gift imaginable.

I thanked Him for allowing me to serve Him. I thanked Him for leading me to my church home where I am encouraged and equipped to find my own ministries. This is my real family in Christ. I thanked Him for allowing me to help others to find their own special place.

I told Him that serving Him is all I desire in my life.

This was indeed a thanksgiving that I will always remember.

This is not going to be the only time I spend the night at my Church with my Saviour.

May God Bless you as He has me. Deacon Harry

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