Dear friends,

Many people ask me what it is like to be back in Canada after being in Angola. There is lots for me to say, but one thing I say is very relevant to Messiah today. Coming back, I feel blessed. I feel thankful. Going to non-tourist Angola and coming back to Canada helps to make me aware of what I take for granted.

It is great to come back to a city where there is no sewage along the side of the road. It is good to come back to: lines on the road; cars that stay within the lines; good sidewalks; garbage collection; water you can drink from the tap; clean and tidy streets; roads without constant, huge potholes; gas stations with gas; a clean and tidy city. I could go on.

The problem? We are not thankful for what we take for granted. We can be surrounded by blessings and feel hard done by.

For those reading this on the Sunday it is released, this is an important reminder. Just over six years ago we walked away from a building we had owned for over a hundred years. That is a story for another time, but briefly, we did it to bear witness that Jesus is Lord and Saviour; we did it to bless another church. God cared for us. He did not give us a building to own, but He provided a place to worship together on Sunday mornings – The Ottawa Little Theatre. Due to renovations underway at the OLT, we are homeless for eight weeks. Today we meet in a school gym. It is easy to feel sorry for ourselves or feel hard done by. But remember, we are not thankful for what we take for granted.

So today is a good day to remember the solid Biblical wisdom provided by an old hymn (written in the late 1800s). “Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” (Johnson Oatman, Jr)

I encourage you to join me in counting your blessings, no matter how small, no matter how great. Count your blessings, personally. Count our blessings as a congregation. I am thankful for great staff, great Wardens and great leaders. I am thankful we have a place to worship in until the end of August. I am thankful for the electricity and safety and places to park and bus service. I am thankful for every person present and every penny in the plate. I am thankful that Jesus is present in our midst and for the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. I am thankful God is just as present in a school as He is in a beautiful building. I am thankful we can pray to our Heavenly Father, Who listens with love.

George +