“Count your blessings, name them one by one,” goes the old Revivalist hymn. Last Monday was Thanksgiving, in Canada a time to celebrate the gifts of family and friendship, the creation and the harvest. Whilst it is good to have a particular day set apart for this purpose, regular, even daily, thanksgiving has a fruitful part to play in our lives, in our relationships with God, with one another, with ourselves and with the world in which we live.
Our lives are so pressured, so much to do, so busy, rushing from one place, one thing, to another; so many demands are placed upon us and our time, deadlines to meet, emails to answer. We are assaulted on all sides by one or other media, promising instant fulfilment of this sense or that. Too often there is little or no time to stand back, take stock, reflect. Too often we are so immersed, so overwhelmed, by all this happening around us that we fail to notice and to appreciate what is good.
Life in and around St James’ has been a bit like this for me lately: so much to do that I have failed to name and celebrate the good that we have been achieving together over the past couple of years.
I am grateful to Fr Matthew for his encouragement during this past week’s retreat “to count our blessings, to name them one by one:” our worship and fellowship together, open church, our music, coffee hour and formation, radical inclusion, street outreach, our community networks with the music academy and other groups, our diocese. This led me too to take time to give thanks for those who love and care for me, near and far, and for all the good things I enjoy, but so often take for granted.
So I commend, to you and to myself, the regular practice of being thankful: reviving the practice of grace before meals, for example, or in daily recollection making sure to give thanks for a particular person or happening. Come to the Eucharist, our great Christian thanksgiving, with something on your heart for which to give thanks. Remember too to say “Thank you” to those around you, for acts of kindness and friendship, the little things as well as the big.
With my thanks for your companionship as we journey together,