By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
While our neighbours to the north celebrate Thanksgiving, we continue to have harvest thoughts as well, so that it all speaks to us of being grateful.
How often do you look at the news with tears in your eyes as you watch the suffering of souls just like us but who happen to live in a different place at this time? Does it move you to pray for them on the one hand, and to thank God that your experience is so different on the other? After Hurricane Dorian our hearts have been touched like never before, as there are no words to describe our recent ordeal that will continue to impact our islands for years to come.
We have never had an actual war on our soil if we discount the Spanish-British skirmishes that kept changing ownership of our islands. We do not know what bombs sound like falling from our skies. We have been spared the sound of marching boots pounding our streets or tanks patrolling our roadways. We are blessed not to have borders that permit invading armies to attack us in the night. Yes, our Defence Force officers, police, immigration, and customs officers are waging war against drugs, crime and undocumented migrants but it is not the same.
Our stores overflow with items for sale and we are free to choose whether to purchase them here or abroad. Many more of our people are indeed in dire straits, but many are living a good life. We have much to be thankful for, even as we are to reach out to assist those less fortunate than ourselves. The next time you look in your refrigerator or cupboard give God thanks for every item that you see and see how long it takes to say thank you to God. Join the writer of Psalm 100 (NIV):
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Next, move to each drawer and the closet and start being grateful for each item of clothing, pair of shoes and accessories that you own. If you were to take inventory for insurance purposes of every piece, I wonder how much paper you would require. Add to the list, every video game, book and magazine, along with cell phones, computers, laptops, iPods and iPads. Add household items, furniture, appliances, vehicles and property to complete the itemised list.
Leaving material things behind, what about our five senses, health, appearance and elusive qualities such as intelligence, spiritual maturity, general well-being, training, skills, hobbies, experience and expertise? To know how to pray, to be free to worship, vote, travel, drive, congregate, speak about authorities and all the other civil liberties that we so easily take for granted, are precious dreams waiting to be realised if we live elsewhere.
Yes, there is much that is not well but today let us pause to count our blessings, and evaluate our present condition with a view to being grateful. Just to know that we are loved by God is an immeasurable comfort. Keep on praising God in the midst of your current situation and let God bring you your victory:
“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150; NIV)
After today we can start to make lists of what needs to be changed and see how we can go about talking to persons who may be able to make a difference. Having measured how far we have come, and given thanks for past achievements and present blessings, we can work to improve the standard of living for every person who is struggling to survive.
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.