This morning we will take time to count our blessings, and give thanks.
We give thanks for the blessings of … living in a corner of creation wondrous and a city beautiful … friends and strangers and family who accompany us along this journey … the promise that our lives are of origin and destiny, and that we are loved with a love that will not let us go … the church that binds us not only to each other but to God.
And this Sunday, even as we also welcome new members, we will hear about yet another blessing. It is a blessing we hear about from Paul, who apparently quoted Jesus – ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35).
It sounds counter-intuitive and is certainly counter-cultural. As I continue to ponder its meaning in Christ, I am helped by a story told by Eugene Peterson in his book ‘Run with the Horses’.
Peterson tells how he saw some birds teaching their young to fly. Three young swallows were perched on a dead branch that stretched out over a lake. “One adult swallow got alongside the chicks and started shoving them out toward the end of the branch—pushing, pushing, pushing. The end one fell off. Somewhere between the branch and the water below, the wings started working and the fledgling was off on his own. Then the second one. The third one, however, was not to be bullied. At the last possible moment, his grip on the branch loosened just enough so that he swung downward, then tightened again, bulldog tenacious. The parent pecked at the desperately clinging talons until it was more painful for the chick to hang on than risk the insecurities of flying. The grip was released and the wings began pumping. The mature swallow knew what the chick did not—that it would fly—that there was no danger in making it do what it was designed to do.” Peterson writes, “Birds have feet and can walk. Birds have talons and can grasp a branch securely. They can walk; they can cling. But flying is their characteristic action and not until they fly are they living at their best, gracefully and beautifully. Giving is what we do best. It is the air into which we were born. It is the action that was designed into us before our birth.”
You are invited to join us in counting our blessings, and considering even more blessing! A nursery is available for infants and preschoolers up to 3, as is a church school programme during the service for children who prefer not to stay in the sanctuary. There is free parking on the streets about, and in a public lot behind the church off Queen Street. Have a look at the order of service, and join us!