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From the Editor: Gratitude and Grace

 

Kathy Noble
November-December 2016

The season of gratitude is fast approaching! Yes, every day should be a day of gratitude – but coming quickly are those days in which we more intentionally focus on God's many and never-ending gifts to us. Even the culture – despite the commercialism that is the basis for many of the messages – helps us focus on that for which we give thanks. Paramount among those gifts is grace.

The gift of God's grace – and how we accept, reflect and extend that grace – is the focus of much of this issue. We focus both on the United Methodist understanding of this grace – what one of our sources calls our gift to Christian theology – and how we live this out daily. Living as instruments of God's grace is one of the ways we reflect the image of God in which Genesis tells us we are created. In the season of gratitude, may we each consider what this gift means and how we extend it more fully.

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A second emphasis in this issue is what it means to carry our discipleship into the political arena. When Jesus Christ is lord of our lives, the one to whom we owe ultimate allegiance, the one whom we seek to emulate, that ought to affect every action, every decision, every thought – including for whom we cast ballots. We invited three United Methodist leaders – two from the United States and one from Germany, three who frequently offer different perspectives on the same topic – to offer their thoughts on how our being followers of Jesus Christ affects our behavior in any election season. I hope they will provoke some helpful thinking and conversation as one of the most contentious election seasons in the United States in modern times comes to an end. You'll also find helpful the article by the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe on our commitment and efforts to secure voting rights for all citizens.

In addition, we offer ideas for making Advent and Christmastide meaningful for your family – and yourself – and an idea or two for reaching out to those for whom these coming seasons will be filled more with sadness or regret than joy. Finally, there is the fun feature on the Boar's Head Festival that United Methodists in Massachusetts have been recreating for more than 30 years.

You will find more on the pages that follow – a mixture of heavy and light reading for this season in which we celebrate the gift of God's grace, the gift of God with us.

Wishing you new and memorable experiences of God's never-ending grace,

The Rev. Kathy Noble is editor of Interpreter and Interpreter OnLine.