Sunday Reflections/Harvest Thanksgiving

 Up early on a cold and sunny morning and by 9am I was ready and waiting in the front porch for my lift to church with Nick. Once down at St. Stephen’s House there was much scurrying around both to set up for lunch and also for the All Ages Gathering.
      As 10:30 approached the congregation was pretty sparse, but we had really expected this since last Sunday a large number of “regulars” had indicated they would be away for Thanksgiving Weekend.  However “where two or three are gathered together…”. Actually as we sang a short and cheerful opening chorus several more members arrived to swell the ranks of our circle.
      Following the song and prayers we brought forward Thanksgiving gifts of fruits and granola bars for the Open Door Mission. Next Nick read Psalm 65, a lovely song of Thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and of God’s care for us, then it was time for the “Psalm Game”, wherein we were divided into 3 teams each of which was asked to reconstruct the Psalm’s verses in the correct order. This actually took quite a while but eventually, after a certain amount of reshuffling of the strips of printed verses, we assembled them on a large sheet of board and our two youngest members helped to glue them into place. Whew, success!
     There followed this YouTube Reflection on Thanksgiving. In researching I had found it really difficult to find any videos which were not explicitly geared to a U.S.A. Thanksgiving, the one chosen is no doubt from the States but fortunately lacking both in Pilgrims and in references to the 4th Thursday of November!
    We then distributed “apple-notes” on which Suzan asked us to write short notes or verses of encouragement. These also will be sent over to the Open Door as tiny gifts for their clientele.
     Before a traditional Closing Hymn, there was a time of open prayer.Nick suggested that, on this special Sunday, we offer only prayers of Thanks. Normally the requests far outweigh thanksgivings so it was really beautiful and refreshing to hear the many and varied prayers expressing Thanks to our Lord for the blessings and the richness of our lives in this country of Canada.
      As the Hymn was being sung, I hurried into the kitchen to bring out the pot of Ratatouille and basket of baguettes. It was pleasing to see that almost everyone stayed to eat lunch together and several people expressed appreciation for the tasty food.And so, after clearing up, Nick kindly brought me home again to an afternoon of raking, Wil walking and hemming of the neighbour’s curtains.
      Last evening I checked in on a couple of my favourite blogs; a visual artist in Michigan keeps one of these. He and his large family live in a neighbourhood which seems very similar to the one I live in and His posts often really resonate with me. This prayer, from his most recent post, might seem a bit of an odd choice after all the thoughts about Thanksgiving and the abundance of our lives but, just because it is so easy to become complacent or casual about all we have, I see this prayer as an opportunity to humble ourselves and to realise that it is not we, but our Lord who is the provider.
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honoured,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (repeat after each line)
That others may be esteemed more than I ,
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.
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