Good Gifts Around Us"
community in which I grew up drew its lifeblood from heavy industry. Coal
and steel were the fibre and fabric of the local economy. The Thanksgiving
Holiday was not an immediate fit with the economic activity of the area.
The one major exception resided with the local fishing industry.
Traps and nets graced many a church sanctuary on Thanksgiving Sunday. Even
in an industrial area, the theme of thanking God for the bounty and beauty
of the earth shone through. After all, many folks had relatives and
roots in rural areas. Others had gardens which offered up small
quantities of vegetables. Therefore rendering thanks to God was not,
in the end, a strange experience.
been considering the hymns we will sing on Thanksgiving Sunday. They are
in the language of planting, ploughing and reaping. These hymns will
certainly strike a chord with those who tend gardens, those who spend time
in the country, and those who have rural roots and memories. However,
what about those of us whose experience of life is mainly urban? What
about those of us who live in the world of industry, technology, and
business? What about those whose contact with the world and community is
limited by the circumstances of life? Well I believe these same hymns
provide us with a note of optimism. I'd like to suggest that Thanksgiving
hymns, prayers, and readings will give voice to every heart. The hymns
bid us thank God for the harvest, to be sure; but they also bid us be
thankful for our life and our world. The hymns have us praise God for the
gifts of joy, peace, community, and salvation which God bestows upon us
all. I can't help but marvel that hymns which express such profound
gratitude were written in such a laborious and difficult time. A successful harvest was the result of hard work, long days, and a constant
contest with nature. The outcome was often very basic. Yet, thankfulness
for the richness and depth of Divine love is a central theme.
Please join us this Thanksgiving holiday as we offer up hymns and
prayers to God in thanksgiving for that which is bestowed upon us in Christ
Jesus our Lord. It is in saying "thank.you" that we will be enabled
to live thankful lives.
Rev. Canon Rod Gillis