Brothers and Sisters:
God’s word encourages us to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18), which means that every day should be a day of thanksgiving. However, there are special occasions when thanksgiving seems to be the natural and most appropriate response. Harvest Festival, which is celebrated at the Church of St. John the Evangelist today, is one such occasion. In this celebration it is God who is being honoured for his goodness, and as the Psalmist suggests we must honour him with our substance. It is very important that we understand that genuine thanksgiving requires more than words. One writer suggests that “there can be no thanks without giving” which means that our words must be supported by our deeds. Gratitude must be accompanied by generosity to make the act of thanksgiving complete.
Another occasion when thanksgiving is most appropriate is National Heroes Day which was observed on October 16. In addition to remembering our National Heroes and a host of others who received honours in the past for their contribution to the development of our nation, we used the day as an occasion to hand out a variety of National Awards to new persons, thus adding to our national honours list. We congratulate those who were honoured in the Official Ceremony on the grounds of Kings House. We note, however, that in several Parish Capitals around the country ceremonies were held on a smaller scale to honour persons who served their communities well.
As a further occasion of thanksgiving we need to renew the practice of honouring persons who have served the church in specific ways over the years. The selection process is a sensitive issue, and often quite difficult, but the sensitivity and the difficultly should not be allowed to stand in the way of this worthwhile expression of gratitude. Whoever said that thanks would always be easy? What we do know is that it is in accordance with God’s will, and so it is pleasing in God’s sight.
Give thanks always.