Giving Thanks for What is Ordinary – Part 1

Two times, during the 16 years I’ve lived in Williamsburg, a significant hurricane has blown through.  Neither storm was catastrophic.  Each time, many trees were blown down, some houses were damaged, we were without electricity and telephone for a week or more.  We boiled water for coffee and cooked on a camp stove out on the screened porch.  The light of lanterns and candles was inadequate for much reading, so we went to bed soon after dark.  We slept fitfully until about 3:00 AM when, mercifully, neighbors’ generators ran out of gas and there was quiet.


I remember how hard it was to be patient, waiting for electricity to be restored.


I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like for residents of coastal Texas on this day.


During my early-morning prayer time this morning, I tried to imagine what I cannot imagine.  I prayed for God’s blessings of resiliency, courage and patience for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.  I prayed blessings of strength and energy for first responders, medical providers, and for those providing emergency food and shelter.


And my prayer moved into giving thanks for what is ordinary.  I give thanks for electricity, for a coffee pot that turns on before I even wake up, for electric lights so I can see in the dark.  I give thanks for the uninterrupted delivery of food and gasoline.  That is just the beginning of a list of  what I too often take for granted.  What would you add to the list?


I encourage you in that prayer of gratitude.  And I encourage you to give what you can towards relief for those in coastal Texas.  When you give to Lutheran Disaster Response, more than 90 cents of every dollar goes directly to relief for victims.  (Since the administrators work for the church, no one is paid very much so there isn’t much overhead!)


Here’s the link:


Blessings to you —

Pastor Andy Ballentine

About Pastor Andy Ballentine

Pastor Andy Ballentine retired in July 2019 after 40 years of ordained ministry. He loved serving as a parish pastor! Pastor Ballentine took his BA degree from the University of Virginia (with a major in sociology) and earned the Master of Divinity degree at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He earned the Master of Sacred Theology degree at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, with the thesis topic of: "How Benedictine Monastic Spirituality Nourishes Parish Ministry." He has completed the program of Spiritual Direction from the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. In the Virginia Synod, Pastor Ballentine has served as Dean of the Peninsula Conference and as chaplain to the candidates in the Virginia Synod’s Candidacy process (those on the way to being approved for ordained and professional ministries in the church). He has staffed many, many Virginia Synod youth events!