Can you guess what that is lying in the parking lot outside our front doors? It’s our old furnace! We have a new shiny furnace purring away as I type this.
Every week we come to church and enjoy a worship service, but this would not be possible without the faithful work of our trustees who make sure there is a building here that we can come to. I am not sure who was on the committee that originally built this church in the 1950s, but I am sure there are seniors in our church who remember. They chose that furnace and it has served us well all these years.
In the meantime we’ve had all sorts of different trustees coming and going, doing maintenance and repairs, or co-ordinating having them done. Faithful behind the scenes work that we all rely on. Maybe this is a good time to thank a trustee for their work on our behalf…this year our trustees are Mike Culp, Peter Neufeld and Tim Lepp.
When was the last time you said thank you to someone for the work they do in helping to keep our church running…someone who did a children’s story, who brought flowers for the altar table, who taught a Sunday school class, who played the piano, who led music, who counted money, who welcomed a stranger, who… The list goes on!
This Sunday we are continuing our series on Ephesians, and this verse fits in well to what I’ve just been saying, “…Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord….”
This week’s prayer: Thank you God for each part of our church body, and the work that we all do to create a worshiping community.
The strangest bread I ever ate was made for me in a little restaurant at the side of a winding highway in northern Israel this past summer. We were in the Golan Heights, the hilly country traditionally occupied by the cultural group known as the Druze. The restaurant was packed. We lined up with everyone else, and I craned my neck to see what we were standing in line for. There were two women working hard behind a counter. One was making big pieces of thin bread over a large grill. She poured the batter and then at the exact moment it was ready, she whisked it over to the counter next to her. There another women spread labneh, a yogourt cheese on it, sprinkled it with spices, and then wrapped it up in a napkin.
As travellers, you become very aware of the need for food. You can’t just go into your kitchen and make it. When I travelled as a young woman with a backpack and a map, one of the biggest tasks each day was finding a place to get food. On this trip, we had a leader, and we looked to him to find us good places to eat. He brought us to this Druze restaurant, and we were not disappointed.
This Sunday we will be talking about the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread”. Why is that a hard prayer for us to pray, when it addresses one of the most universal needs that we have?
This Sunday we will also be having a “bread themed potluck” (including gluten free bread)…people are bringing anything that goes on bread! We hope that you can join us!
This week’s prayer: Give us this day our daily bread!
Can you remember the happiest thanksgiving you’ve ever had? One of the happiest for me was in 1990, when we brought newborn Katie to church for the first time. I was so happy that the birth had happened, that we had a beautiful baby daughter and that we could share her with the congregation. Maybe you can think of a happy thanksgiving….
What about the unhappiest thanksgiving you’ve ever had? Maybe it was a time where you’d just lost a loved one, or gotten bad news about your health. Maybe it was time of conflict in your family, or a time of depression. Whatever the reason, perhaps you remember how hard it felt to be thankful.
What do we do when the feeling inside doesn’t correspond with the holiday? Stay away from church? Do we feel that since we don’t fit, there is something wrong with us? This Sunday we’ll be talking about thanksgiving in hard times…what kind of God do we worship? What kind of songs do we sing?
This week’s prayer: God of good times and lean times; show us how to be faithful. In this time of thanksgiving, open our eyes to the good gifts you are always giving.
I watched a cooking show recently where various ingredients were named on different cards. Some of the ingredients were pretty standard; salmon, soybeans, sweet potatoes. But some of the ingredients were wild cards; kumquats, lemongrass, fiddleheads. The cards were placed face down on the table, and the contestant chefs had to randomly choose three cards; they then had to make up an entrée using those three ingredients. The dishes were interesting and unusual; the ingredients were used in surprising and creative ways to make something tasty.
I feel that’s a bit like what’s happening in church this Sunday! It’s Thanksgiving and we are celebrating the baptism of two of our young people and we are celebrating communion. In the planning stages for baptism, we tried a bunch of different dates for the two families involved, and it turned out this one suited everyone best. It reminds me of the cooking show; put two things together that you don’t usually put together, and something different and surprising happens.
We often celebrate Thanksgiving around Pentecost; I am used to preaching about the Holy Spirit and baptism. We can still talk about the Holy Spirit of course, but when we add baptism to Thanksgiving, it puts a different spin on the event. It can change the way you think about Thanksgiving and it changes the way you think about baptism. At least that’s what I’ve been finding!
Please be in prayer for our baptismal candidates, and come to church with thankful hearts, ready to celebrate and come to the Lord’s table.
This week’s prayer: Thank you Lord for the way you cook up a feast of worship for us each Sunday! Bless this week’s service, that it may be a celebration of love for you.
I am trying to remember the first time I felt really thankful. I think it all started with the colour turquoise and the smell of candy. When I was around four years old we lived in Kenmore, a suburb of Buffalo. And down the street from our house was a candy store painted turquoise. I don’t have a lot of memories from that time in my life, but the one vivid memory is of standing by this big turquoise wall, breathing in the sweet smell of candy. Bliss!
Deep happiness or contentedness has a thankful element to it. Later in life, our thankfulness can be more explicit, we can start to articulate who we are thankful to, and for what. I wonder how thankfulness changes as we go through the life cycle. This Sunday we will be hearing several voices from different generations—a chorus of thankfulness.
In preparation for our thanksgiving service, which includes communion, spend some time reflecting on how your thankfulness has changed or evolved over your lifetime. Are you a more thankful person than you were a year ago, or ten years ago, or fifty years ago?
This week’s prayer: Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices.
There is no better way to ring out the old year than to think about all the things to be thankful for. I’m thankful for health, for people in my family, for friends, for a home to live in, for plentiful food to eat and for a peaceful country in a world where many live with war. I’m thankful for a good job that I love. I’m thankful for the beauty of the country in which I live, for Lake Ontario shining blue everywhere I go, for the trees and the rocks of the escarpment. I’m thankful for this friendly community I live in, for the people on the street, for the people at the grocery store and the bank and the doctor’s office and the drugstore…the people in my neighbourhood. I’m thankful that I have time and resources to travel, that I can listen to music and see artwork, and read great books. I’m thankful for a sense of history, of knowing who I am and where I’ve come from. I’m thankful for laughter and all the funny people who keep me laughing. I’m thankful for seasons and holidays and traditions. I’m thankful for my pets and my backyard and my garden. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn. I’m thankful for silence. I’m thankful for memory and for feeling hopeful. I’m thankful to God who has given me every one of these gifts. I’m thankful to be part of a community where we can be thankful together.
This Sunday when we have “Prayers of the People”, you will be given an opportunity to share what you are thankful for. I hope that this year will be a thankful year, where we remember God’s grace together.
All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above, thank you Lord, oh thank you Lord, for all your love.