1st Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 26:1-11 & Psalm 100
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This is my favourite time of the year! The air gets a bit crispy, the colours all change to oranges, yellows, and browns, and the harvest is brought in for another year. God’s abundance is all around us, and never so evident is God’s care for us than it is in this season which provisions us so generously for the coming winter.
(show pictures of Texada’s natural wonders)
Thanks to all who have brought samples of their own harvest to share with us today. We are grateful for all the gifts of time, talent and treasure shared to enrich and support this community of faith. We are indeed a spiritual family, and we stretch our faith deeply into our families and our community networks.
This weekend is a time of celebration: a time to enjoy the fruits of our labour in the company of relatives and friends. But as I sat down to write this reflection I was struck by how much suffering is going on in our world even as we do so. It’s hard for me to disregard the plight of the Kurdish people in Syria as the Turkish army bears down on them. Hard to put out of mind thoughts of bloodbaths and ethnic cleansing. Major weather events in Japan and in California invade my thoughts, and somehow it feels like we live in a blessed bubble here on Texada.
And so, I am grateful. Grateful for the health and security of my sons and their families. Grateful for this faith community and your support for my work. I’m grateful for the persistent presence of Jesus Christ in my life, and for the guidance of Spirit.
I’m so grateful for the knowledge and insight and spiritual guidance in my life that allow me to see how important the spiritual dimension of human life on earth actually is. Without it, we would, I believe, have destroyed ourselves in never-ending warfare long ago. Our spiritual evolution, aided by great teachers such as the prophets, Jesus and the great teachers of other faiths, has brought us to this place in our history where we must make a conscious choice between technologies and lifestyles that are life-giving, and those that lead only to death and destruction.
God’s gifts are all around us. Life is the greatest gift of all. Let us choose life, people of God.
Hymn #288 VU “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
2nd Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-9 & John 6:25-35
So here we are on Thanksgiving Sunday, the last Sunday in the season of Creation. Today and maybe tomorrow we will feast on the plenty, on the abundance of the fruits of the earth. Matthew Fox in his book “The Cosmic Christ” reminds us that “Each meal we eat today is like a ‘farewell meal’ of Mother Earth since, when we eat, we always eat Mother Earth. Mother Earth, then, is a constantly sacrificed ‘paschal lamb’ whose blood is spilled for our healing, nourishment, and salvation.” (p.150)
And I like to say the earth, our life on earth, all this is God’s great gift to us. To which some say, who is this God? And I have to answer that I stand here in awe and wonder and tell you that I don’t know – but I can still stand in fear and trembling before a power that I don’t understand, and probably don’t have the mental equipment to understand. And that power reverberates thru everything I see and hear and feel.
According to all our great teachers, that Power, this God, has a bias toward all that is good, and kind, and loving. This God demands justice and kindness and mercy appropriate to the beauty and generosity of the gifts we have been given.
The Bread of Heaven, the teachings and spiritual life offered to us in Christ, is the food that gives us eternal life. This bread is the very presence of God, enervating every moment of our lives. This bread makes everything we do and think and believe sacred. This bread is the innate sacredness of each uniquely special one of us. Made in the image of God, we are each one of us expressions of the Creator, creative beings in our own right – another gift.
Jesus, and the other great teachers of the world’s spiritual traditions, came to bring these truths into consciousness for us. To open our eyes to who we really are, and to help us to understand that we are part of this miraculous entity we call Creation and could not exist apart from it.
Hymn #651 VU “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah”