I do not know how much you took in – if any – of the farewell the Tigers gave to Miguel Cabrera this past weekend, but I felt that they did an incredible job … and our Lord Jesus (who is not just The God of baseball, but the God of all creation who sits at the right hand of God the Father ruling over the universe) complimented the activities with some fantastic weather.  I was blessed to attend the games on Friday and Sunday.  The theme through it all … and in the publications and events surrounding it … has been Muchas Gracias … Many + Great Thanks, Miggie, for the many joys provided over the years.
Then, Monday morning, as I relived (and rewatched) many of the events of the weekend I got to thinking about how blessed I am … and my morning prayers transformed into a litany of multiple “muchas gracias” to my Savior Jesus for the manifold blessings that have been (and continue to be) poured into me and my life.  In the words of the psalmist, “Muchas Gracias to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. … The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. … You are my God, and I will say ‘muchas gracias’ to you; you are my God; I will extol you.  Muchas gracias to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 118.1, 14, 28-29)
Muchas gracias to the Lord for the blessings he gives to me through my wife, children, and grandchildren.  To this group I must add my sainted parents and grandparents (though I only really have memories one of that generation) … my in-laws (and the family that comes with them), my brother and his family, and all my extended family.  Seven of us are so close that we gather for a weekly “Family Time” to enjoy one another and stay connected.  The rest are scattered far and wide across our nation (though at one time we were all living in Saginaw County) yet remain close in heart and caring for one another.  I cannot even begin to count the multiple times and ways this group has made a positive difference in my life … which, muchas gracias, continues through today.
Muchas gracias to the Lord for the many friends we have been blessed with throughout our lives.  With very few over-laps, we have friendships from the church in which we grew up, high school, colleges, the cottage, and different times and places of service.  This is a list that has been constantly changing over the years due to the Lord leading our lives in different directions … yet I know, and have often experienced, that whenever he provides the happenstance for us coming back together – even for the briefest of moments – we pick up like it was yesterday.  These friendships keep enriching our lives with great joys and the strengthening of our understanding of who(se) we are and why we are here.
Muchas gracias to the Lord for the congregations that have been a part of our lives, primarily Immanuel, Our Savior, Charity, Saint Paul, Mount Calvary, and Saint Thomas.  We have been blessed with the opportunity to serve with many caring and gifted servants of our Savior.  People beyond number have welcomed us into their lives … in times of grief and sorrow, joy and celebrations, intimacy and apprehension, questioning and doubt, success and failure, anger, exuberance, and indecision … and continue to do so.  Here I would be remiss if I did not also say muchas gracias for the many additional professional church workers (and their families) God has brought into our lives.  Yes, the Lord is good!
Muchas gracias to the Lord for the blessings of retirement – blessings that have just begun to unfold.  Muchas gracias for time to travel, and to read like never before … for flexible schedules and the opportunity to help others in new ways, and for all of the unknowns that the future holds.  And, as challenging and emotional as it has been for me, this also includes the blessings Jesus is bestowing upon STL and me by the separation that retirement has brought.
Muchas gracias to the Lord for the opportunities given to make a positive difference in the lives of others … opportunities seized … opportunities missed … opportunities turned up-side-down … opportunities still in the works … sometimes seen, but often invisible to my eyes … With this petition comes a huge muchas gracias for the grace of God and the compassion of people for the many failures along the way.
Muchas gracias to the Lord for what is yet to come … opportunities and changes … blessings and curses (yes, God is Lord of all) … deaths, births, and re-births … celebrations and cooperations … and ultimately the resurrection of my body, the final Judgement, and life eternal in a new creation.  Or to put this into the words given to us through Saint Paul, for the opportunity to do one thing: “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3.13-14)
Muchas gracias, Miggie – you have brought much joy to my life.  Muchas gracias, readers of Thursday’s Thirst – for continuing to put up with me and adding so much to my life.  But most of all – Muchas Gracias to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
(How many weeks is it until Thanksgiving?  I wonder if I choose to republish this then, will anyone notice?)

Muchas Gracias