October 3, 2023
By Kaylee Falk, Wynyard Gospel Church
Leading up to Thanksgiving, I had cause to remember these words from an old but well-loved song: I stand in awe of You! Holy God, to whom all praise is due, I stand in awe of You.
When I look at my life, I am in awe that a Holy God, so powerful and perfect, could look at someone like me, so small and broken, and love me anyway. That He would love me enough to give up His whole life to right mine is a reality that often brings me to tears.
Everyone has a different story, and everyone is on a different journey—towards Jesus or away from Him. When I was a young adult, I was headed far from Jesus. Wallowing in my self-destruction and pain, I experienced a moment God’s mercy and love, and I decided to make the 180-degree turn away from a sinful life that was slowly destroying me, and I turned to Jesus.
I am still so incredibly far from perfect, still so small and broken, but I take steps each day toward Jesus and the life He wants me to live. I mess up daily, and Jesus loves me daily.
The beauty of the church is that there is no one perfect within it. If anyone thought they were perfect, they wouldn’t need Jesus, and they wouldn’t need a church family. There is no one perfect—not even one—except for Jesus Christ.
As a church family—full of broken, sinful people—we encourage and challenge each other to move closer to Jesus. We share each other’s burdens, and we share each other’s joys. We learn together, we serve together, we pray for one another, we eat together and praise God together.
So this Thanksgiving—and every day of my life—I am thankful that God, in His mercy, turned me towards Him. I am thankful for the church family that He placed me in. I am thankful for the people who extend grace to me when I don’t deserve it, who call me out when I mess up, and then lovingly embrace me and walk me back to the right path. I am thankful that Jesus wants and loves broken, imperfect people like me.
By Carlton Larsen, Pastor at Strasbourg and Bulyea
It is easy for me to be thankful right now. As I write this, my lovely wife and I are leaving tomorrow for Mexico! We will spend a week at a retreat centre with three extra days outside of the planned event to prepare and debrief. After assisting there, we are going for another ten days to Mazatlan. Life is good and exciting. But no matter how fun, how easy, or how rewarding life is, gratitude is a practice that must be learned.
I have known people who seemed to “have it all” with a spectacular life, yet they were unsatisfied. It is possible to be rich, beautiful, powerful and miserable. Happiness, gratitude, and thanksgiving are an inside job. I have also known people who are dying with very few resources, and yet they experienced life as a great and beautiful gift. Thankfulness is an inside job.
We in Canada are profoundly blessed. This beautiful country has abundant resources and a strong and resilient society. There is much to be done to better ourselves, and there are reckonings to be faced environmentally and socially. We have yet to fully come to terms with genocide, slavery and oppression in our own history. We are a work in progress. But we are making progress. Beating ourselves up for not being perfect is not helpful. Being thankful to be “on the way” is. Let us commit to growing, learning and moving forward with gratitude!
Thankful for the Long Game
By Rev. Rick Shott, Nokomis Baptist Church
As we think of what we are thankful for, we think of things or events, but often we need to think about the bigger picture. I am approaching a new milestone in life, a child graduating high school. It happens to everyone, but for years, as I think about my daughter, I can still remember the events leading up to her birth. It was the first time I ever missed a church service as pastor, and I do not regret it. There is no end of mental pictures that revolve around her as a young child, but she is not anymore. I tutor her in math, and I grow proud as she starts to understand the more complicated topics. She is becoming something more.
Nothing stays the same. I believe that as we need to give thanks, we should think about more than just what is before us today. We should look and see how the hand of God has guided us throughout life. As is written in Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;” (ESV) As we see how we can be thankful for the arc of our life, we are more able to see the hand of God guiding our life. God most often works in the little things, but those little things can add up over time. The Lord gave us His Son Jesus; what are a few small promptings and minor “chances” along the way?
By R.Murray Patzwald, Authorize Lay Minister for Quad Parish
On behalf of the Quad parish of (Govan Lutheran, Duval Lutheran, Quinton Lutheran, and Raymore Anglican) we as a community of faith would like to extend a special blessing to everyone, and it would be our prayer that your Thanksgiving and year bring abundance and joy. We pray your Thanksgiving brings you reasons to be grateful, as so many are so grateful for you. May God continue to pour out his grace and blessings on you and your family. We pray that God multiplied his grace and favour this year and throughout your life. Happy THANKS giving
By Deacon Norbert Gaudet, RC church, Raymore
Thanksgiving is a day to reflect and really give thanks to the Lord for his goodness. God's love is constant and never-changing. Psalm 107 is a psalm about giving thanks for deliverance from many troubles. It uses images of Israel's history but can apply figuratively to many situations in our own lives.
It made me reflect on a couple of things. First, what are the troubles in my life that God has delivered me from? There are many troubles in life one encounters, and one must give thanks for overcoming some of them and continue to pray for deliverance from the others.
Second, how do I give thanks in prayer? Is my ‘thank you’ sincere? Often, when I say grace, it is rattled off without even meaningfully saying thank you. Our prayer is only effective and true if our disposition is right, including our thanksgiving prayer.
In Luke's parable (18:9-14), Jesus points out that to be right with God, we must be humble. The Pharisee prays, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get”. But the tax collector, eyes to heaven, beats his breast prays “God, be merciful to me a sinner. The Pharisee measures his goodness by the external acts he performs. He is not truly thanking God but rather praising himself. The tax collector, on the other hand, sees his imperfections and seeks only mercy without having a sense of entitlement.
As we attempt to give thanks for the goodness of the Lord this Thanksgiving, let us remember: What am I truly giving thanks for, and how am I giving thanks?
By Mary Anne Grand- layperson from Raymore United Church
Thanksgiving, to show expression of thanks and gratitude, especially to God. As the world turns with wars, famine, fires, floods, and exploitation of people’s lives, one wonders where we find thankfulness. We can be thankful for our lives, for a roof over our heads, and for food to sustain us. Yes, there are people who are not privileged to these things in life, but we can show thanks by sharing our gifts in whatever way is possible. Food banks, the Red Cross, lobbying the government on behalf of the homeless are some ways we share our gifts. At this time of the year, we are always thankful for the grain in our bins, the vegetables in our root cellars and the jars of produce on our shelves. At this time, do we honestly take the time to give thanks to God for our abundance, or do we carry on with our busy lives? Luke 17:11-19 tells the story of the encounter of the ten lepers with Jesus who were calling out for Jesus to have mercy on them. Jesus’ answer was for them to show themselves to the priests, and as they were on their way, they became clean. One realized the gift of healing, returning to Jesus to give thanks and gratitude, glorifying God. This one was a Samaritan. The question Jesus had was, “Where are the other nine?” Can none be found to give glory to God except this outsider? Jesus gave his blessing of thanks to the faith of this one man who was healed and saved. As a small stone is tossed into the water, the ripple becomes a wave that is carried out, perhaps our thankfulness can be that small stone that gains momentum and becomes a great “Thanksgiving.”
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