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What Is the Heart of YOUR Thanksgiving?

by Rev. Dr. Jo Ann Bynum

On October 24,at the invitation of Rev. Nelson Grande (D. Min, M.Div., Board Certified Chaplain [BCC]), I met with DSF/CST student Tom Johnson, a third-year Interfaith Chaplaincy student, at PIH Health Hospital in Downey. The hospital was hosting the first Chaplain’s Luncheon for other chaplains, community pastors, and hospital staff.


It was a welcoming, informative, and educational event that brought back memories of my previous

career as an Assistant Hospital Administrator – the profession I relinquished in order to pursue a calling to full-time ministry. During the event, I was reminded of the vital services provided by hospital chaplains and others. It, also, served as an awe-inspiring reminder to me of the multiple opportunities to minister to others who are in emotional, physical, and spiritual need of recovery.


At the close of our time together, one of the volunteers, a Eucharistic Minister named Mike, shared his story, which epitomized the abounding and heartfelt meaning of “Thanksgiving.” Some months prior, this gentleman unexpectedly found himself hospitalized and in recovery for several weeks and months because of an acute/emergency encounter. As a result of the grace-filled extended healing and recovery he experienced, he made the decision to retire from his job to express his thanksgiving (for a second chance at life) by providing his volunteer services to those in need. Mike now serves as Eucharistic Minister to Catholic patients at PIH Health. He, along with the other Eucharistic Ministers, serve along with the chaplain.


Let Us Think on These Things:

  1. What is the impetus for our heartfelt “thanksgivings” that impact the lives of others???

  2. Where do our “thanksgivings” begin and where do they end???

  3. Are they specifically shared with some or inadvertently, casually, failed to be expressed to others???

  4. Is our “Thanksgiving” saturated and immersed in God’s and our love, compassion, equality, and justice for one and for all???


Psalm 100 (NIV Version)


1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.


2 Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.


3 Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his[a];

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.


4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.


5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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