Dear Friends in Christ,
“A wandering Aramean was my ancestor …” Deuteronomy 26:5
Those words are found in a passage from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Book of Deuteronomy, appointed to be read at Harvest Thanksgiving this year (Deuteronomy 26:1-11). They may mean little to most of us, but for the People of God from whom we inherit an ancient faith, they were central to corporate expressions of thanksgiving at the time of Passover. Discussions about accurate translation and interpretation are centuries old, including questions about to which “Aramean” the writer is actually referring? and, is the Hebrew word preceding it best translated “wandering” or “destroying?” One observation about the message is clear. From where we have come is important. We inherit who we are and even what we have and, in looking back, we gain a fresh appreciation for what we now claim as our own.
The times in which we live can be identified, in more ways than we can count, some of the best any human society has ever known in the history of the world. While “the best of times” surely needs qualification, for most, new technology, instant communication and the wealth enjoyed by a first world society grants a standard of living far beyond what any of our ancestors could have ever imagined. In an age of entitlement, even those of us who have little are rich in comparison to those who have gone before. But for all that gain, all that progress, all the advancement, isn’t it a fact that the “true riches” remain exactly the same?
There is no substitute for sitting at table with family or friends. Nothing can replace the health we so often take so much for granted. Each day is a gift. A future and an eternal weight of glory awaits those of faith – something that money simply cannot buy. As we focus on giving thanks for the material, Jesus taught about “true bread which comes down from heaven.” He made the preposterous claim that he was, in fact, that bread. Giving thanks for the bounty of this season is but a symbol of our being thankful for the true riches – a sign of thanksgiving for the true bread.
I pray you identify the presence of Christ in your encounters with those close to you in this season and that you find yourself able to give “humble and hearty thanks for his goodness and loving kindness.” You’re invited to gather with the Cathedral family on Sunday, 09 October 2016, as we set the table and offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving at our normal times of worship:
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist – Book of Common Prayer
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist – Book of Common Prayer
11:45 a.m. Come Worship Eucharist (contemporary)
Please contact the Cathedral Office (506) 450-8500 <[email protected]> if you cannot be with us and wish to request Communion where you are.
Yours most sincerely,
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Geoffrey, Dean of Fredericton