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Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Grace to you and peace from God the Father Almighty and our Lord and Savior Jesus!

The United States Supreme Court begins its year of deliberations on the first Monday in October and so with this Monday, I begin yet another way of communicating with you on a regular basis. I call it Monday Musings as I tend to like alliterative titles.

My plan is to make this what the title implies; random thoughts and contemplations on the week ahead, with an occasional look backward, but primarily focused forward. At times, the lectionary readings for the upcoming Sunday will inform my thoughts, but if the occasion warrants, it will be something other than those assigned texts.

It will be short - somewhere around 500 words or so, something you hopefully can take and reflect on as you begin your week, and occasionally pause back to think about during idle moments throughout the coming days. Because of this introduction, today will be a little longer. However, I will make every effort to limit this to one topic so as not to clutter your mind. No one, after all, wants to read War and Peace on a Monday morning and believe me, you also don't want to know everything I'm thinking.

The beginning of this unusual week finds me in Chicago with the other 65 ELCA Bishops attending our Fall Conference. From here I travel to Berkeley, California, to speak to a group of ministry candidates who are studying at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in the Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) program. I return on Thursday to meet with our rostered leaders in the Cleveland West Conference. The image of the proverbial frog on the lily pad comes to mind.

I point this out to mention that in future postings, whenever I am unavailable for one reason or another, I will prevail on one of the other members of the Bishop's team to offer a contribution so as to maintain consistency and make this a habit at the start of your week.

With that introduction, let us forge ahead to our task.

Two themes run through our Scripture readings for this coming Sunday October 9. The obvious one is healing. The other one is thankfulness.

I want to focus mainly on the thankfulness theme because I think that far too often, one thing we don't do enough of is give thanks.

We call our worship service the Eucharist. That word comes from the Greek eucharisto, which means "thank you."

When we worship, we are giving thanks to God for all God has done for us through Jesus Christ. God offers us wholeness and healing through simple faith in Jesus, and replenishes that wholeness every time we approach the table of forgiveness and receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.

I give thanks to God for you and your anticipated readership of this new communications venture, and pray that your week is a little less hectic. May the Lord keep us all under God's tender care.

+Bishop Abraham Allende