So, what comes to your mind when you hear the initials P.T.?  Is it possibly Post Thanksgiving living?  Perhaps you are a grammarian, and your mind goes to Past Tense.  If you are a Leonard Cohen aficionado, “Passing Through” may be stuck in your head.  Some in the employment world are thinking Part Time.  And those connected in any way to the healthcare industry are most likely focused upon Physical Therapy (not to be confused with O.T. or counseling).
Well, for the child of God, of course, there is no such thing as Post Thanksgiving living!  Our lives are an eternal eucharist in the presence of our creator, preserver, redeemer, and sanctifier.  And by saying, “eternal” I echo the words of Herb Brokering (melody, Carl Schalk), “Thine the amen Thine the praise Alleluias angels raise Thine the everlasting head Thine the breaking of the bread Thine the glory Thine the story Thine the harvest then the cup Thine the vineyard then the cup is lifted up lifted up. … Thine the glory in the night No more dying only light Thine the river Thine the tree Then the Lamb eternally Then the holy holy holy Celebration jubilee Thine the splendor Thine the brightness only Thee only Thee.” Ever since my mother’s funeral I cannot sing this glorious hymn without choking up.
That said, one of my first post-thanksgiving DAY activities was focused upon things in the Past Tense – that of writing our annual family Christmas letter.  What made it even more difficult this year was the fact that we never got one out last year.  Looking back on 2023 was challenging enough, but 2022 was even more of a blur!
Here is my clearest recollection of the 2-year span, February 19, 2023:  “What a day it was … church was packed … the music was incredible … Mark was speechless when about 50 “children” surprised him for the kids’ sermon as anyone who had ever come forward over the 28 years joined in.  And then came the banquet … around 300 of our closest friends and family members chose to toast instead of roast.  Nine months later one still gets teary thinking of the overwhelming kindnesses of the day.”  I think you could call this another illustration of the fact that there is no such thing as Post Thanksgiving living for a child of God.
And here are some of the profound words Leonard Cohen made famous in 1973: “I saw Jesus on the cross on a hill called calvary, ‘Do you hate mankind for what they done to you?’ He said, ‘talk of love not hate, things to do – its getting late.  I’ve so little time and I’m only Passing Through.’  Passing Through, Passing Through.  Sometimes happy, sometimes blue, Glad that I ran into you.  Tell the people that you saw me Passing Through. … I was with Franklin Roosevelt’s side on the night before he died.  He said, ‘one world must come out of World War Two (ah, fool).  Yankee, Russian, white or tan,’ he said, ‘a man is still a man.  We’re all on one road, and we’re only Passing Through.’ Passing Through, Passing Through …”  Granted, the theology leaves much to be desired, but the chorus rings true … all of us are just Passing Through (in other words, it’s not about me or you … it’s all about the guy mentioned in verse one, who never just passes through).
Have you ever wondered about what is actually meant by the term Part Time?  Is it a limited number of hours that comes with minimal responsibility?  I don’t think that covers it.  Does the definition change depending upon the commitment level of the individual?  Is it an employer’s term for getting the same amount of work for a lesser cost?  No matter which direction one goes, the good news is that Part Time never speaks of God’s commitment to his baptized children.  Forgiveness is ours all of the time (it does not come and go, no matter what we feel or think).  God’s love for us is all the time – never Part Time.  And his promise to be listening, guiding, blessing, and breathing out his peace upon us is a constant, no matter how we treat him, ignore him, or reject him.
This brings me to a first time (I know, that’s F.T., not P.T.) experience of mine over this past week.  For the first time in my 70 years of life on this earth I had an X-ray (not counting the dental office).  And this is now being followed up by the final P.T. – Physical Therapy (and another F.T. for me).  My hip, which has been bothering me since March is, so they say, out of line by about 1.5 inches.  And so, for the indefinite future, Amy G will be working on straightening me out (I am not sure if she yet realizes her challenge with a person like me!) and strengthening my core.
I just realized that the earlier reference to WW2 may have caused some to think of another P.T. – Patrol Torpedo boats were small, fast, and expendable vessels for short range oceanic scouting in WW2.  This connects to Past Tense in more than one way … When was the last time you watched “McHale’s Navy” on some retro TV network?
Finally, when we are talking about Post Thanksgiving DAY living, the Past Tense, Passing Through, Part Time, Physical Therapy, PT boats, or any other P.T., I hope the words of Psalm 148 come to your mind.  It begins and ends with the quintessential P.T. (which, by the way, always adds an L at the end).  It is a P.T.(L.) that, as baptized children of God, still applies to us as God is at work straightening us out!
How does it go?  Praise The Lord!  Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!  Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!  Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!  Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!  Let them praise the name of the Lord!  For he commanded and they were created.  And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.  Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire, and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!  Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!  Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!  Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!  Young men and maidens together, old men and children!  Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.  He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him.  Praise The Lord.”  Yes, Thine is the Amen!
So, at least for this day, when you think about the initials P.T., I am hoping that the letter L will come to your mind … and with your next breath you will exclaim – at whatever volume is appropriate for the setting – PRAISE THE LORD!  Have a blessed (and praise filled) day.