High River United Church of High River, Alberta

A Thanksgiving Dedicated to the Common Good

This will be a thanksgiving unlike any other as we settle into life with the pandemic and the safety measures to prevent its spread.  This year we will not be gathering in typical family fashion with shared meals and close proximity.  We will be seeing each other online or at a distance or in small groups to ensure that no one in our group, young or old, contracts the virus and faces potential life-long or life-threatening illness.  And we will experience lots of mixed emotions about that.  We know because our household is not gathering with extended family this year. It will just be the two of us and Susan's mom with whom we have been bubbling since this all began.

It’s important to find the support we need in order to cope with the challenges and changes through this special holiday.  Even though we can’t be together in the usual ways there is something profound and peaceful about a quieter holiday that gives us pause long enough for us to sink into gratitude, reflect on our thanksgiving, and support the well-being of the common good.
This Thanksgiving, we are letting go of our need to be together in order to protect the common good or in other words, to offer our gifts of care and safety to others.  To do that, we give up our needs so that we can honour the needs of others.  The United Church of Canada has long held a theology of the common good which is rooted in Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbour. 
This is the theological basis for why we are giving up larger thanksgiving gatherings this year.  This decision is rooted in our theology of the common good—the ethical basis for taking care of each other not just ourselves.  When we are sad about not having a family thanksgiving meal because of the health measures in place, we take comfort in knowing our actions are grounded in the care for the common good and the well-being of everyone, not just our own personal needs.  We offer gratitude knowing that Jesus calls us to love not just ourselves, but our neighbours.  We call to mind, that our actions are potentially lifesaving for someone else.  And that is all the reason we need to keep our distance whether at home or at church.
This thanksgiving is rather special because it calls us to be grateful for the ones we love and for the ways we are taking pains to provide them with safety and well-being.  We can take this time to express our gratitude to them perhaps in a note, an e-mail or a phone call.  There is no greater love than being mindful of the needs of others.  So yes, we will miss our in-person gatherings this weekend. At the same time, we offer our gratitude for the many blessings we have and for the ways we provide for the common good.  This is our thanksgiving spiritual practice this year.  We give thanks for each other. We lovingly provide for each other’s safety and well-being. We celebrate our compassionate, faithful community that surrounds us. 
This year, we offer thanksgiving for the common good that we celebrate as an expression of God’s love for not only ourselves, but our extended family, our friends and our neighbours.  We give thanks for the many ways we serve the common good, individually and as a congregation, as we acknowledge our many blessings and celebrate the love of God which surrounds us all.  This is a thanksgiving unlike any other we have experienced, yet our hearts are full of joy and gratitude for God’s love and the pleasure we take in serving up care and safety for each other for the wider common good.  In gratitude, we sing or say:
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.

Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Ones,
Rev. David & Rev. Susan
High River United Church – a community of help, home & hope
“Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy.”  A. Heschel

Please know!
The Church Building continues to be open and accessible.
Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 am to Noon and 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
Stop by to say Hello. Enjoy the Thanksgiving decorations. Look at the book table or pick up a bookmark (made by Melanie) or study material.  Just remember to wear a mask (we have masks available here) and to sanitize your hands when you enter.  Thanks!



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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168


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