October 2021 Reflection: Enough for All
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
~ Malachi 3:10, New International Version
Poured out blessings – so much that there will not be room enough to store it. Isn’t this an amazing scripture text.
During the month of October 2021 we have the opportunity to look at the meaning of shared communion, to celebrate and ponder Thanksgiving, and World Food Sunday.
Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods; some examples are flat bread, sweet breads, corn bread, quick breads, sour dough, gluten free and hardtack. The common elements, bread and wine, have been shared throughout the world for generations. As a part of the new reality in these pandemic times communion has been shared virtually over the past months.
The creation of bread begins as the farmer plants the seed, the earth accepts the seeds, the rains and sunshine invite the seeds to sprout and grow, and from one kernel many others are produced. The harvest is milled and the baker’s recipe provides a loaf to be shared. A simple process, but, also a complicated one.
The recipe from Ezekiel 4:9 is this: “now take some wheat, barley, beans, peas, millet and spelt. Mix them all together and make bread’’. From a few basic ingredients an edible food product is created and shared.
The United Church of Canada provides this explanation of The Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, Eucharist— these different terms refer to the same sacrament shared by most Christian denominations, a symbolic meal. Communion is celebrated at a table that suggests the dining table in our homes. At the communion table, we acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the host and all are guests. The meal uses the symbols of small pieces of bread and a taste of wine or juice to remind us of Jesus’ last supper with His followers and of God’s enduring love. The United Church practices an open table, that is, inviting all who seek to love Jesus to share in this family meal. All are welcome. There is enough for all.
Feasting at table reminds us of Thanksgiving gatherings in the past – pre pandemic, when two or three generations could gather for a shared meal and conversation.
Traditions of giving thanks long predate the arrival of European settlers in North America. First Nations across Turtle Island have traditions of thanksgiving for surviving winter and for receiving crops and game as a reward for their hard work. History states, in 1578, English explorer Martin Frobisher and his crew gave thanks and communion was observed, either on land at Frobisher Bay, in present day Nunavut, or onboard a ship anchored there. The explorers dined on salt beef, biscuits, and mushy peas and gave thanks through Communion for their safe arrival in then Newfoundland. This is now accepted as the first “Canadian” Thanksgiving, forty-three years before the first “American” Thanksgiving.
It is written, on November 14, 1606, inhabitants of New France under Samuel de Champlain held huge feasts of thanksgiving between local Mi’kmaq and the French. The neighbouring Mi’kmaq likely introduced the French to cranberries, or as they called them, petites pommes rouges (little red apples)- this was a life saving supplement against scurvy.
So, why do we serve turkey on Thanksgiving, when we have many other readily available meats? It is thought that traditional foods such as squash and pumpkin and turkey were introduced to citizens of Halifax in the 1750s by the United Empire Loyalists and the tradition spread across the country.
The Canadian Parliament officially declared Thanksgiving as “a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed’’.
As we and people around the world look to World Food Sunday’s theme “safe food now for a healthy tomorrow’’ – we realize just how blessed we really are. There are 811 million people around the world who are classed as chronically hungry, 41 million on the brink of famine in 43 countries due to disaster, poverty, unfair policies, violet conflict, climate patterns and economic downturns. The numbers are staggering. World Food Sunday gives us a chance to learn more about our neighbours around the world and their challenges to survive.
Creator, we offer gratitude for the changing seasons. We are thankful for the bounty that surrounds us, and we are thankful for the farmers and labourers who have tended their crops diligently. We pray for those who have not been able to gather their harvest because of wind or hail or rain. May resilience be theirs.
We honour those who contribute to Canadian Food Grains Bank, community gardens and caring cupboards. Global food insecurity is a reality. Using methods of fair distribution there would indeed be “enough for all’’.
Generous One – We pray for Your blessing on fields, seeds, labourers, harvests, hearts and minds as we look at World Food Sunday. Open our hearts to the stories of our brothers and sisters in peril.
We have many people and circumstances on our hearts, O God, We pray for all who have let their names stand for government positions. Their responsibilities are many and crucial to the present and future others. We name friends and families and neighbours who are in need of Your surrounding love and protection, during times of anxiety, O God. May they know You are always near.
During these uneasy times we are thankful for teachers, bus drivers, parents, crossing guards and students
– all who continue forward under new circumstances. We name them now.
With thanksgiving in our hearts we pray the prayer Jesus taught, praying:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and
forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but, deliver us from evil:
for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
May hope, joy and love be yours as we move through this wonderful month of October. May you be showered with blessings.
Be at peace, be well and be safe. Phyllis B.
October 2021 Scriptures and special days
October 3 Creation Time 4 in the season of Pentecost
Creation Requests “Lend me your voice!” World Wide Communion Sunday
Job 1: 1 and Job 2: 1-10 (Job’s first affliction) Psalm 26 (Prove me, try me, test my heart)
Point to ponder: World Wide Communion Sunday offers us the opportunity to look at our faith family and extend our usual perimeters to include people across the world. Where did your ancestors come from? and how did their journey bring them to this country, this province, this community? Creation requests ‘Lend me your voice’ Discuss this with family and friends. There are so many stories to be shared.
October 10 Creation Time 5 in the season of Pentecost
Creation invites: “Depend upon me !’’ Thanksgiving Sunday
Joel 2: 21-27 (Do not fear, O soil, for God will provide) Psalm 126: (Those who sow in tears, reap in joy) Matthew 6: 25-33 (Do not worry about – eat or drink)
Point to ponder: Abundance of food and food scarcity are opposites and yet, it has been said – ‘there is enough for all’. On this Thanksgiving Sunday look at how many generations have lived on and off the land in our area? Now, how can we work for a more fair distribution of food and wealth as individuals and as a church family?
October 15 (Friday) International Day of Rural Women
The United Nations (UN) International Day of Rural Women celebrates and honours the role of rural women on October 15 each year. It recognizes rural women’s importance in enhancing agricultural and rural development worldwide.
October 17 21st after Pentecost
World Food Sunday
Job 38: 1-7 and Job 8: 34-41 (God’s rebuttal to Job’s complaint) Mark 10: 35-45 (James and John request to sit on Jesus’ right and left)
Point to ponder: Everyone loves a winner and how many times have we dreamt of winning the lottery and what power/good we could then do. Being all powerful was not the objective of Jesus. For many “offering a hand up’’ instead of “offering a hand out’’ takes a bit of planning and a lot of thought. How have we offered a hand up?
October 24 22nd after Pentecost
Job 42: 1-6 and Job 42: 10-17 (Job’s fortunes restored) Psalm 34 ( Taste and see that God is good)
Mark 10: 46-52 (The healing of Bartimaeus)
Point to ponder: It is a fact that we do like to be in control and very often we expect immediate results. Sometimes, though, it is best to step back, to rethink. What is it that we really need, as opposed to what we want? When has hesitation brought about unexpected amazing results?
October 31 23rd after Pentecost Reformation Day and Halloween
Ruth 1: 1-18 (Ruth makes a choice)
Psalm 146 (I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath)
Mark 12: 28-34 (Which commandment is the first of all?)
Point to ponder: Have you been a part of or a witness to a relationship based on respect during difficult times?
Compare the story from Ruth to the Great Commandment in Mark’s gospel.