Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done, in whom God’s world rejoices,
who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
It will be good to gather this weekend and give thanks.
Otherwise it can all be so overwhelming. The issues of the groaning creation. The violence and injustice suffered by so many peoples within our nation and beyond. The frailties, failures and fears of each of us as individuals. These dimensions of our days, and so much more, can easily overwhelm and rule our lives.
They are real. But there is another reality that can release rather than constrain life. And this is the weekend that reality returns to view. We can give thanks. We can acknowledge the wonder of soil, sun and water bringing forth grain for bread and vines for wine. We can remember the labour of many for the common good. We can recognize that not one of us choose to be born, and that we are inheritors of generations of inspiration and beauty and example. It is all gift, and we can give thanks.
We can not give thanks generally, however. No gift is truly a gift unless the giver is thanked. This weekend we return to the Giver, ‘Now thank we all our God’.
And in the thanksgiving, life is renewed. The issues, the burdens, the struggles remain. But we are renewed with a larger perspective. We have the assurance that we are not only of origin and destiny, but we are accompanied. We know this in Christ. And gratitude gives way to freedom and generosity in the Christian, whatever the season or circumstance.
As we continue to read our way through the stories of the first Christians, we come to the conversion of Saul upon the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Might our conversion in Christ be one to gratitude, deep and full? It would certainly set me on a different path in this world.
If you are in the area, join us in the worship of God this Thanksgiving Sunday. Scroll through the order of service below. There is a nursery for infants and a programme for children during the service if they are interested. Clergy Street remains closed – if parking in the free public lot off Queen Street behind the church, you may need to walk from the manse driveway and around the stone wall on the grass.