Gifts of Grace
October 1, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we approach our Thanksgiving Day on October 4, 2020, we may have some mixed emotions after experiencing a very different and perhaps difficult time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have experienced loss – loss of a loved one, of health, of time, of income, of opportunities, of confidence, and perhaps of a little patience.
Thankfulness under such varying circumstances does not always come easy. Thankfulness requires us to meditate or deeply consider all things. The psalmist did such and concluded as expressed in Psalm 104: 24 “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions.”
In a divine service, the Chief Apostle spoke of the concept of ‘work’. There is the notion that because of sin, humankind was cursed and now must work hard. However, God has created man to be in the image of God and God is the Creator who ‘works’. The triune God is our example. God works, Christ works, and so does the Holy Spirit. To be thankful also is work and to work also shows our thankfulness. With thankfulness comes offering and sacrifice as an expression that we recognize and appreciate what God has given us freely through His grace. We are given gifts and talents. We work to cultivate, care for, manage, and preserve that which God has given us in life and the creation. To sow is work and even to reap the benefits of the harvest is also work. We individually and collectively are responsible for our well-being, our neighbour’s well-being, and the well-being of the earth with its treasures! We cannot abdicate the responsibility to God, no, He entrusted this to us.
God also gave us salvation, through Christ’s sacrifice and the sending of the Holy Spirit. He gives us everything we need to enter His kingdom. What grace!! How great are His works.
We can not deserve it or earn it; God’s love makes it possible. Our thankfulness prompts us to work, to exert ourselves for our salvation. We dig deep into the word and diligently apply it into our lives. We work to take on the nature of Jesus Christ so we may be able to exercise the love of Christ towards our neighbour. We work to preserve our salvation by taking responsibility for our decisions so that our faith, joy, and peace are not damaged. We work to build our relationships with God, our ministers, and brothers and sisters in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us take the time to contemplate the great manifold works of God. God gives us the creation, salvation, and the Church. God has given us gifts, talents, and blessed us in uncountable ways. Let us recognize this grace and make use of it. May it inspire our thankfulness and lead us to take up our responsibility to work, preserve, and secure the future for both ourselves and our neighbour.
Together with our Apostles, and Bishops in the Canada district, we wish you a blessed Thanksgiving and extend our love and greetings to you and your loved ones.