Worship Leader:  Liz Healy                                                                                   Music Director:  Tim Hallman
October 10, 2021
Thanksgiving

WE GATHER AS GOD’S PEOPLE
 
Prelude

Words of Welcome
For the bounty of the harvest, for the colours of the fall, thanks be to God. For the miracle of bird migration, for ingenuity of hibernation, thanks be to God. For the glories of the earth all around us we give thanks to God our creator. In a spirit of humility and thankfulness, come let us worship God as one through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Judy Sears, Willowgrove U.C. Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Lighting the Christ Candle
Loving God, we gather today to worship you, for you alone are worthy of our praise. You are our hope for the present and the future. You are our peace in the depth of our souls. You are our joy amidst both happy and unhappy times. You are our shining example of love. Hear our praises, O God, for you alone are worthy. Amen Cheryl Henry, Sheridan U. C. Mississauga, ON

Silence

Hymn:  VU 236 "Now Thank We All Our God"  (OneLicense 84025)

Prayer
In this moment we give thanks to God for the gift of God’s grace. Through this gift of love, our hearts are opened and we embrace the wonder that we are truly worthy of love. And as we discover that we are worthy of God’s love, we are called to witness to the world that all of creation is worthy of such love.
This gift God has given us, let us share it with others. Amen
Sandy Ferguson, Sthrathearn U.C. Edmonton, Alberta.

Hymn:  VU 517 "Praise God for the Harvest”  (OneLicense 45499)

 WE LISTEN TO GOD’S WORD

Scripture:
Matthew 6: 25-33
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Anthem: MV 185  "Ev’ry Day Is a Day of Thanksgiving" (Leonard Burks)

Reflection - An Attitude of Gratitude and Thanks
Let us Pray.
Dear Lord, be with us today. Open our hearts our minds. Gather our thoughts. Let your light shine through. Amen.

Giving gratitude or expressing thankfulness is not new and is one of the first things we learn as a child. As soon as a toddler can speak, we as parents or grandparents are saying,” Say Please” and “Say Thank you”. Giving thanks reminds us of the blessings we have, even in times of stress. This is especially true at this time in our lives as we are dealing with the covid 19 virus. Everything is upside down and uncertain these days.

Robert Emmons a psychologist and world expert on gratitude defines gratitude as the ability to recognize the goodness in your life which is due to your surroundings as well as the actions of another person or group of people.

Being thankful helps one become more optimistic which has a positive effect on one’s mood and perspective on life. That in turn can calm your fear and worry.

Positive vibes like gratitude, humour and thankfulness promote happiness. You begin to focus your mind on the things in life you value, what you have control over and what you can do to give back to others.

What are your thankful for? I asked the congregation and they said……thankful for family and friendship, the safe beautiful area where we live, wonderful and safe supply of food, health care, grandkids, health, lovely weather, the beautiful country we live in, community – there for each other, food on the table, God’s love in our hearts. I myself am thankful for my family, my friends, my church family, my health and my community. I like those that commented could go on and on. I have been truly blessed

in my life.

Having an attitude of gratitude or thankfulness doesn’t mean that troubles and normal life bumps in the road won’t come your way. There will be cracks and sometimes there will be craters in the road. I am a worrier at heart but have tried to maintain a positive thankful attitude. I have found that this helps me cope with the problem and gives me a focus to move forward.

Research has also found that a practice of thankfulness can benefit to your physical health as well. Studies have found that people who practiced gratitude in their lives slept better, had fewer headaches, less tummy issues and better outcome in respiratory illnesses.

How can we do this?

Prayer, not only today, here at church or this weekend when we sit down with family and friends. We don’t need to give thankfulness a season or weekend. We can do this all year round. When you pray give thanks for the blessings along with your requests. Long ago in bible study I learned of the Acts Method of Prayer. “A”- Adoration, giving God praise and honor, “C”- Confession well I don’t think I need to explain that one.  “T” Thanksgiving - verbalize what you are grateful for in your life and community.  “S” Supplication is praying for the needs of yourself and others. Do you ever have something going on and you flippantly say “Thank God”? When that happens again take a moment to think about it, and really mean it.

Write a thank you note, call, text or email. There is nothing better than a note of thanks in your inbox or mail box to start your day! A short note or text connects you with someone and allows you to focus or give thanks to what that person means to you, how they make you happy.

Tell someone you appreciate them for what they have done. Wow! That is especially true in these covid times. Employees are sometimes belittled for implementing covid protocols. It is not the fault of the employee that measures are in place. If you see a rattled worker, give them words of gratitude, thanks for all they are doing. A simple gesture can change your mindset and maybe that of the person receiving the thanks.

Therapist for years have encouraged people with burn out or depression to start a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be a fancy book - a dollar store blank booklet will do! But every day write 3 things that you are grateful and thankful for in your life. It doesn’t have to be an in-depth thing. You can be grateful that you remembered to run the dishwasher and had clean dishes for your breakfast or your paper person left your paper stuffed safely dry between your doors on a rainy day. Give thanks that your Keurig spit out that perfect cup of coffee, that there was food in the frig for breakfast or we finally are getting the rain we desperately need. Small thoughts of gratitude can make a difference and lesson depression.

Meditation or mindfulness can add to a positive attitude of gratitude. I have been going to yoga for years. A bit of a sceptic at first, I wasn’t sure I would benefit from the practice. Before long, my flexibility increased and the exercise helped the aches and pains of my GBS ridden physical body. The other thing that I noticed was the calming effect of the meditation. The practice of focused breathing exercises during yoga and the meditation cleared my mind of outside interference. During that one hour any stresses were waved from my mind and I emerged from class with a grateful, thankful feeling. People laugh when I say that. The yoga studio was by the childcare center and trying to meditate with a toddler having a meltdown seemed like the impossible. As we progressed through our practice, many days we would leave the class and someone would say that that was quite the crying jag in there today. Many of us would look at each other and say that we did not even hear it, we were so into the mediation. Yoga practice always ends on a note of thanks, gratitude for the opportunity to join our minds and bodies in a common practice. I strongly encourage you to try a yoga class at some point. And no, the classes are not the pretzel bending, back breaking form you might picture from tv. Walking does the same thing. You get exercise but can focus on the nature around you and aren’t we all grateful that we have safe areas to walk around this area. The Brock Trail, Mac Johnson, the Parkway and our own neighbourhoods offer safe places to stroll.

Social media is another way to reflect on gratitude and a medium in which to give thanks. There are even APPS out there offering ways to focus on gratitude and thanks when you are struggling. On FB you often see people posting notes or phrases of positivity. Giving thanks and a positive attitude will surely put a smile on your face. For many of us here any one of Jo-Anne’s posts of dear Parsnip will chase any blues away. We are grateful for that animal and I bet she is thankful for the friends she has made on the farm.

Turning away from negativity can boost your thankfulness. Not engaging in that negative feed on Facebook, walking away from that Debbie downer or turning off the news can chase away thoughts that are not positive and allow gratefulness and thankfulness into your mind instead. Many people I talked to did just that during the peak of Covid. It was too much to bear on a daily basis.  We should give thanks to the residents of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville for heeding the words of experts and getting vaccinated. We were and maybe still are the highest vaccinated populous in Ontario. For that I am extremely grateful. I am thankful for the people like Jo-Anne that manned the clinics and made it all possible.

So now, getting back to thanksgiving and what we are celebrating this weekend. I hope that most of us can engage in some kind of Thanksgiving celebration this weekend. For most last year was a bust so hopefully we can safely gather this year with Covid protocols in place. The Hallmark or Hollywood version of Thanksgiving shows the Beaver Cleaver happy family sitting around a table straining under the weight of way too much food. For many that is not the case. For that homeless teen, that broken single mom or that person struggling with addiction Thanksgiving can be a stressful time. I give thanks that this is not my situation and am grateful for the agencies that provide for people in need not just around holiday times but throughout the year. Feel good when you make a donation to the Food Bank, the United Way or other local agencies. These programs are more important than you would probably ever know. In the same frame of mind, give to our church. Our mission is, “A village church with a heart for the world”. The impact of what we do here on a Sunday morning or during the week is long reaching and often not known. Your donations go beyond paying utilities and taxes. You will never know how far your words of encouragement and

positivity will go.

We have been taught in early school about the Mayflower landing in Plymouth and the glorious feast that followed. It wasn’t until I started this reflection that I realized how little I knew of the how this came to be. Imagine an early winter, oceanic voyage of 10 weeks on a wooden ship just 100 feet long with 135 strangers, enduring vicious seas, food shortages and sickness. All this to arrive to a land that looks nothing like the promised land you pictured.

Arriving in November the Pilgrims that survived the journey found the ground frozen, no fresh food and a harsh environment unlike what they were used to. Without the skills of the indigenous peoples to teach them vital survival skills that first Thanksgiving as we know would never have happened.  The new settlers were taught how to smoke and dry fish, how to grow the 3 sisters of - corn, beans and squash and how to fertilize the land with fish.  They learned to use powdered tobacco as insect repellant, how to navigate the water and land, how to identify poisonous plants and berries and most importantly they learned how herbs were used in medicine and cooking. The indigenous peoples had been surviving on the land for thousands of years and had knowledge and skills to share.

History tells us that after that first year of struggles, the Pilgrims that survived invited the Wampanoag peoples to join them in a celebratory feast and what we know as the first Thanksgiving.  We also know of the colonization and genocide that followed. We can be thankful for the life skills taught by the indigenous peoples to the early settlers. Many of our medicines, our traditions and foods we eat today are because of the teachings of those indigenous peoples.  Our land stewardship practices stem from indigenous peoples. We honour the stewardship of the Algonquin, Huron, Mohawk, Mi’gmaq, Ojibwa and Ottawa nations, for the lands we live, play and work on. We give thanks and are grateful for the knowledge shared, we give thanks and gratitude that their stories are now being told and shared.

And so, my friends, start a practice of gratitude and thanks, not just today but 365 days a year.

It is good for you. It is good for others. Give thanks for what you have been blessed with, be grateful for those in your life. Give thanks for the present, be grateful for past experiences and let the spirit of both guide your future. Happy Thanksgiving.

WE RESPOND AND GIVE WITNESS TO GOD

 Invitation to Respond with our Tithes, Offering & Prayers.
We are given so many opportunities and the freedom to give thanks. Sharing the gift of time with each other, the giving of our talents to our church, community and family, the gift of our offerings through weekly contribution, PAR or online through Canada Helps. God honours our gifts no matter how small, it is the generosity that is most important. Guide us, oh Lord, in ways to pay your love forward.


Offering Dedication
For what we have received, make us truly thankful, O God. For what we have been given make us grateful. Help us live thankfully and gratefully not just at Thanksgiving but every day.  AMEN

Prayers of the People and the Lord's Prayer
Faithful Lord, we give you thanks for the many gifts you have given us and the opportunity to enjoy your blessings of hope, light, life. We don’t always have the words to express our thanks or know how to show our gratitude. May your words encourage us to go out and act, to live, to love, to help those in need, to serve others through you. May we inclusive, peacemakers and restorers.

 
Loving Father we bring before you in our hearts people and community issues that are on our minds. Our silent prayers are brought to you now. As a faith community we come together in the words taught to us… Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever Amen.

 Hymn:  VU 296 "This Is God’s Wondrous World"  (Public Domain)

Benediction & Commissioning
And now into God’s world we go: grateful for a love that holds us fast, ready to live our gratitude in the world, thankful that we have been blessed, and eager to be a blessing in all the places life calls us to be.
Robin Wardlow, Toronto, ON


Let’s be thankful
Let’s be thankful for this day
For our friends and for our play
Let’s be thankful, let’s be glad 
For our food and the things we have 
Let’s give thanks for you and me 
And our home and family.
                                                  By:  Rob & Sylvia

 Hymn: “Blessings" (Paul Rumbolt)

Postlude

Today’s bulletin has been donated by Brenda Cartwright.
In loving memory of dear parents, Ross and Jean McLean
in honour of their wedding anniversary, October 15, 1949.

 

         "A Village Church With A Heart For The World"

Christ United Church

12 Perth St., PO Box 113, Lyn, ON, K0E 1M0
(613)498-0281 (Phone)   (613)498-2589 (Fax)


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