Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, NRSV)
Friends, it's nearly Thanksgiving in the U.S. and it's the time of year when we are pressed to name things for which we are thankful. I want to offer a twist on the usual lists and use Paul's letter to the church at Philippi as a model. Name five things that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise. These could be people, organizations, acts, ideas, works of art, pieces of music--whatever comes to mind for you.
- One person and organization dear to my heart is Dr. Catherine Hamlin and the Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. The women they help are resurrected from lives of being social outcasts because of birth injuries.
- Heartly House in Frederick our local shelter for domestic abuse victims. They also run the rape crisis hotline and work to end child abuse.
- My friend Anne Weatherholt+, who's like a big sister to me and has mentored me through an ordination process that more often resembled "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" than anything having to do with Church. :-D
- The good folks up at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg who welcomed the Episcopal sojourner among them (even if we didn't always see eye to eye on everything).
- Last, but not least, my family - beloved husband, our daughters and my parents. All of them believed in me and are very much responsible for "keepin' me real."