Thanksgiving ~ 2017 ~ Grounded and Grateful

October 8 2017  

READINGS: Deuteronomy 8:7-18 ~ 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15 ~ Luke 17: 11-19

Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God when you come into the land of promise.

Fifty-one years ago, my father decided that Canada was the land of promise for our family.  Driving down the Eastern Townships autoroute, this airsick, homesick, teenage girl from the Lincolnshire wolds (rolling hills) was in awe of the landscape. With mountains and lakes on every side, and a clear blue sky – the likes of which I don’t ever remember seeing in England – I soon forgot that our driver was driving on the wrong side of the road and fell in love with this spectacular country. And whether in Quebec or Ontario – even through the pain and heartaches of life – both God and this country have been good to me and my family and I am truly grateful.

Living in a country like this makes can make it easy to take things for granted: the beauty, the abundance of resources, the relative freedom and peace … But these things – this way of life – are gifts that needs to be treasured and cared for, with a sense of deep gratitude and a concern for generations to come.

To forget about God and tell ourselves that we are entitled to all of this for we earned and own it is as foolish as a potted plant thinking that it could continue to blossom and grow without being rooted in good soil. Thanksgiving is one of my favourite celebrations.  It’s an important reminder to pause, remember and give thanks.

One of my friends keeps a gratitude journal and at the end of each day she writes down 5-10 things for which she is thankful.  It may be simply lying down and waking up in the safety of her own place, knowing that there is warm, running water for a shower and healthy food to eat.  Those things are especially important if you’ve ever ended up living on the street. No matter how many bad things happen that day, the gratitude journal helps keep my friend grounded and grateful.

So, this morning, I invite you to consider at least five things that belong in your gratitude journal.

This Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for the years that Bev Madden decorated this church and that when it was time to let go of this ministry, Lois Rochon and Barbara Humphries took it on.  And I am grateful for the way the choir, praise team and musicians are working together with Wendy to bring us beautiful music. And I am thankful that Jack is doing so well after his surgery. And for the caring of this congregation… and my list could go on and on.

During the offertory, as a way of reminding ourselves of the need to stay rooted in God and grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will get up out of our seats and bring forward our first fruits.

Our thank offering may be

– a donation of food for the Food Bank;

– a portion of our income for work in and through the church;

– and the giving of ourselves, offering up our hearts, souls, minds and bodies to God for use in furthering the dream of God’s commonwealth on earth.

God has given so much to us

– the beauty and wonder of creation

– God’s healing love made known to us in Jesus

– and God’s endless grace and mercy

Surely the least we can do is to pause and enter into that ancient practice of offering up our heartfelt thanks and praise.

Amen.

Pat Martin +