Happy Thanksgiving 2017
Dear Friends and Family of St. John’s, St. Thomas, I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgivng 2017
Rev. Canon Janet Lynall
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior Habakkuk 3:17-18
First Nations Metis artist Ayla Bouvette, invites us to experience gratitude. She invites us to be still and contemplate the beauty in front of us that we don’t have to possess, change or tame, just receive. If you grab some friends to share the moment with, who will lean their body and heart against you, there is a good chance that your body, soul and imagination may shimmer with joy.
My pray and wish for you is an abundance of such moments. Grace is coming to you even if it seems you are running out of patience. God’s grace will hunt you down and wrap a blessing around you. Don’t keep running from grace! Don’t’ doubt it is for you. You are worthy of grace. You have a secret well of joy that is so wonderfully and uniquely yours! The world will be blessed when you drink from it even as the world will sometimes try to poison it out of ignorance and self-loathing. God will purify what others have tainted and you will hear clearly again Jesus calling you Beloved. Even the earth knows she is beautiful and worthy and waits for her blessings. She trusts God’s timing. The earth even trusts enough to let go of the past, summers green glory, to see her leaves, like our children, leave her branches, her protection to fall to the earth. Earth will slumber deep in winter, but not sadly, because nature knows her birthright is blessing and she will rise again in the spring to beauty and joy, and claim her blessings!
After a long summer, autumn rain is falling today. I want to get this letter to you so only take quick glances outside to be mindful of nature. While some lawns and trees are still green, others are waning and letting go. Trees gently release dried yellow leaves after a delightful September heat wave that allowed me to swim every day. I was filled with joy. I knew that some of my brothers and sisters, human and furry or feathered, are facing frightening circumstances. A distant chain of tropical storms and hurricanes, droughts, forest fires and floods leave parts of our world in devastation. Other human made storms also rage. Corruption, violence and greed disfigure us and rob us of the ability to make good global decisions based on peace and justice for all. Ought we to rejoice? In times of plenty and in times of scarcity, in times of distress and times of contentment, people give thanks. Our Anglican Book of Common Prayer has a thanksgiving prayer for a poor harvest. Why? Giving thanks to God for our life, what the joy brings and the pain teaches, is the way to peace and blessings. It is not something we fully understand, why the very act of thanking God for our life, our inadequacies and failures, our struggles and victories, the beauty and the decay, renews us with hope and purpose, but it does. If I thank God whether I am happy or sad, feeling tremendous success or miserable failure, confident or afraid, I experience love around me that is healing and restoring me, taking me out of myself and my narrow vision into God’s mind, heart and purpose. Grace erupts everywhere! Jesus Christ moves among us and nothing can overcome the love of Christ that flows through creation and you. Nothing will diminish it except your own unwillingness to receive it. We speak of Thanksgiving Day as a time of giving but it’s also a time to receive your blessings, receive the grace and love coming to you. It will help you push through the roughness of life.
Like our gardens, farms and forests this season, we know drought and blight. Troubles overtake us and stress wears us down. Careless words are spoken, relationships suffer, we get sick, we get discouraged, overwhelmed and imagine the worse, or become lethargic and depressed. How do you give thanks? How do you count your blessings? You get on your knees if you can, and praise God from whom all blessings flow, you find out where love is calling you, and you go there. You tell the people in your life, that you are grateful for what they mean to you. With all that you are and all that you have, you say thank you to that funky little tree that makes you smile etc. etc.
Some of you may know that I am passionately enthusiastic about Inuit art and have been known to stay out all night on the pavement outside an Inuit Gallery just to have an opportunity to purchase one of the precious few annual limited edition Cape Dorset stonecut prints . This stonecut by Josephie Pootoogook “Joyfully I see Ten Caribou” is one of my favourites from 1959, the first year Cape Dorset released stonecut prints. This stonecut never fails to bring a huge grin to my face. I imagine all that his joy holds, feeding his family, the hunter beholding the beauty and gift of the caribou after months of no sightings. While I cannot afford to bid on it at auctions, I can delight that it exists and for me, makes my soul shimmers with joy! Much in life we cannot own, but we can take joy in the well of life giving water that flows through the creator to us. Treasure this Thanksgiving, God’s finest work, You!! Rejoice always, , give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Romans 12.12
Again, Happy Thanksgiving, the attached envelope is for you if you wish to make a thank offering to St. John’s own deep living water well of ministries!! Help us make souls shimmer!
Thank you! Rev. Janet Lynall