I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Being thankful is an awesome thing. It redefines reality. It changes the focus from what we don’t have to what we do – and this is a big difference. It makes a world of difference to you, allowing more joy to bubble up. It also makes a difference to the world. (please continue reading, or look to the bottom for a pretty PDF version)
I recently came across this wonderful vision of a grateful world by Br. David Steindl-Rast. “When you are grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people and [are] respectful to all people. The grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people. A grateful world is a happy world.” Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
But how do we do this? With prayer; with practice looking/listening for God’s blessings; and sharing them with others. Last year’s letter contained a variety of ideas. This year I’d like to remind you of a practice that comes from our ancestors in faith. There is a Jewish tradition that encourages giving thanks to God 100 times every day. If you sleep for 8 hours, that works out to about one every ten minutes. Can you imagine how that would change the world if everyone lived that way? What would that be like?
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean denying the tough or tragic parts of life. There are many ways in which people, and the world, need help and healing. The ramifications of COVID-19 are examples of this. While the numbers are currently going down here there are many parts of the world that are experiencing significant struggles related to COVID. Our special Thanksgiving offering will be going to the Presbyterian World Service and Development to support their partners in dealing with the ramifications of the pandemic. This includes projects that are helping people gain access to food, sanitation and hygiene, protective equipment and psycho-social support, with a focus on gender justice and the protection of highly vulnerable populations. More information can be found on their website: presbyterian.ca/pwsd/covid-19-response.
May the Holy Spirit help us to see our blessings, and to find ways to share them in this focused time of Thanksgiving.