Yesterday (October 8), I spoke on a tough topic at our church, as part of our "What If Jesus Was A Quebecer" series. You can listen to it here, once it's uploaded, but one of the core ideas was, "Quebecers fear the return of religion."
And understandably so.
It's become quite a meaningful series (for me, anyway). A year ago, the sociological nerd in me jumped at the chance to read a current book about Quebec culture, highly recommended by two born-and-raised Quebecers. Now, a year later, unpacking how our faith interacts with that, and ending up in deeper space than I ever imagined ... well, it's meaningful.
And a little terrifying.
What business does an Ontario girl have,
talking about Quebec?!
I'm thankful for the behind-the-scenes
Quebecer focus group
that has helped to keep me on track.
Yesterday, I was amazed - AMAZED - at the overwhelming response. "Bang on, pastor ... we lived it ... my family lived it ... I'm understanding myself better through this series ... so glad to be in a church that talks about this ... so glad we are going to be a church where it's safe to make mistakes ..."
Thankful for that.
Yesterday afternoon, we shared Thanksgiving dinner with a family that felt like our own. Lots of loud laughter, overlapping stories, a shared heart for the things that matter. (And food. Oh the food. Including turnip that tasted like apple crisp!!!)
Thankful for that.
Today, I'm off to Evangel's Thanksgiving Community Dinner - I heard it's the 23rd year of it, I think? We expect to serve around 600 meals in 3 hours. I'm not actually needed there, because we have tons of people helping. Last year's dinner was the first time I heard the phrase, "It's what we do, pastor,' said with a matter-of-fact shrug and a smile. My goal is to be, somehow, mildly helpful while also staying out of the way of all those who know exactly what they're doing.
It's Thanksgiving weekend. And I'm thankful. I truly am. I'm thankful to be part of a church that is filled with memories, as well as dreams for the future. I'm thankful for friends and family. I'm thankful for turkey and pie. I'm thankful for the crisp-yet-warm air of a Canadian fall day.
And I'm thankful,
because that crisp fall air, every year,
reminds me of Ukraine,
and I smile,
knowing I will be there again soon.
And so, a Thanksgiving prayer...
"My Father ... Thank You. For dreams. For history. For family.
For our church community. For friends. For our city.
For purposes that matter.
For a life filled with shared moments, and a beautiful world in which to share them.
Thank You for a roof - a lovely one! - over our heads.
Thank You for our food.
Thank You for Your loving presence in our lives, for grace,
and for the always-challenge to live better.
Be honoured through how we live today.