A Congregational Letter to Morgan’s Point and Forks Road East United Churches
Thanksgiving Sunday, October 11th, 2020
As I settle down to my desk this afternoon, my heart is overflowing with gratitude as I think of all that I have to be so thankful for on this Thanksgiving weekend. Family, friends, and faith family stay connected to me throughout the week as we share stories and offer support to one another. I also look at the beauty of nature around me, and am so grateful for being a part of this wonderous community. I am truly grateful for my health and wellbeing. God has indeed blessed me with so many relationships to fill my days with conversation, laughter, shared insights and stories of faith that strengthen my soul and offer me abiding peace.
My sermon this week is based on 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. I have entitled it ‘Is There Room for One More?’. I wonder during this Thanksgiving weekend if we have room in our lives for one more: For the least, the lost, the lonely, the leper, the other. When a National Day of Thanksgiving was established on the second Monday in October, it was not because the second Monday in October was a particularly thankful day. It was intentionally chosen precisely because of its arbitrariness to remind us to say ‘thanks’ on a daily basis for the bounties God has heaped upon our lives. For Christians, every day is a Thanksgiving Day. And every Sunday at worship, is a day in which we give thanks for the greatest event ever to come to us, the greatest ‘opening’ in human history, the open tomb testifying to the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.
In addition to the turkey dinner, many of us will share with our families on Thanksgiving, some of us will also share another tradition this Thanksgiving feast – an empty chair. In Southern Saskatchewan, where my roots lie, that empty chair stood ready to be filled, or to be gazed on, as a reminder that no matter how many were already present, there was always room for one more. Even if there wasn’t physically an ‘empty chair’ there was an extra plate and extra portions in case an unexpected visitor showed up.
No matter how Thanksgiving is celebrated, no matter how many are hosted at the holiday feast, the tradition of the empty, expectant chair, demands our consideration if not physically, then at least spiritually. I am wondering, today, on this Thanksgiving Sunday, where is our empty chair? Where are our extra portions of food? Are our hearts open or shut to the needs of others? Do we have room to give more love, more bounty to share, more friendship to extend?
What will it take to get us to make room for one more name on our ‘need to phone/visit list’? One more personal note jotted on a Christmas card? One more hour for volunteer work at a mission? One more person in our hearts. These are the questions only we can answer as we talk with God. As we listen for God’s voice. As we listen and respond, are we ready to reach out with compassion and tenderness?
It is my hope and prayer that each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, and a week filled with God’s goodness, joy, and peace. I look forwards to connecting in with each of you again though out the week as we share stories, prayers, laughter, and tears. Remember that as we pray for one another every morning at 10:30, God grants us wisdom, love and peace to hold each other in God’s infinite love and care. Keep well and safe.