October 2011. Our long awaited trip arrived. The UK. The first time of returning as a family to the homeland. We were upgraded to business class which, when travelling overnight with the 4 children is just outright blessing! Feet up and heads back, the Collins spread themselves about that cabin like regular rich travellers. Alongside businessmen travelling alone staring, wondering, asking themselves – how? why?
Bella with earphones in situ shouts ‘Dad, have you travelled in this part of the plane before’? Phil discreetly shook his head.
As we flew into London. A strange sense of ownership came upon me. The green, the fields, the rows of houses, the London eye, the millennium dome.
Walking through the airport, Josiah says excitedly ‘Mom, Mom remember these moving stairs’? I think a trip to the mall is in order. Escalators in abundance.
On the subject of our mall. Josiah asked. ‘Are we climbing to the top of Merry Hill’?
‘What do you mean Josiah?
‘You said we were going up Merry Hill‘?!
We sped down the motorway, loaded with luggage. Registration plates on cars looking they were made by fisher price and sold in toys r us.
We have enjoyed a great first week of family, friends and visiting.
A whirlwind of loveliness.
Top question of the week. Does this feel like home? Our answer is clear, it’s simple. Yes. We are in such a blessed place in being able to say both places feel like home.
The connection is tangible.
We visited our home church on Sunday, thankful for the welcome and opportunity to share and pray.
Gungor in their song Crags and Clay describe ‘creation’s dance being in our skin’
‘The chaos of creation’s dance
A tapestry, a symphony
Of life himself
Of love herself
It’s written in our very skin’
I’m in love with that imagery and believe community and friendship are part of that dance. It’s in your skin.
Onto thanksgiving, as you can probably work out Canadian thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in the UK. We thought we would change that this week by gathering our friends at the biggest house (thanks family Evans) and holding thanksgiving roast for 18 adults. 27 children. Food upon shared food. Blessing. Conversation. Praying. Releasing. Sending. Did I mention food? We will linger for a while then journey on from our different continents. Living out very different lives, yet intrinsically similar.
So what were my friends thankful for?
Good friends, untidy hair, the Collins home for 4 weeks, to be alive, socialising, the animals, Jesus, for this dinner, the world and Bella, cake, God, each other, nature, apple (mac) chocolate cake, sunshine, family, friends over the years, my beautiful wife, opportunities for evangelism, 5 kids and still looking handsome, support pants, double decker planes, friends like family, grace of god, dishwasher, good authors, community of faith, walks, coffee, Josiah, the richness of friendship.
On the wonderful subject of thanksgiving.
Eucharisteo! My new favourite word.
As I mentioned previously, I am reading Ann Voskamp’s book. I love her thoughts. I especially love her gratitude list. I love lists. I might just have to start my own gratitude list. Would anyone like to join me?
Eucharisteo means thanksgiving, it envelopes the Greek word for grace, Charis, but also holds it’s derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning joy. (p32)
The central symbol of life, of scripture, running through life and in death, it runs through surviving, eating together, though sacrifice. Thanksgiving. Turning it around when negatives are so easily come by and produced. Switching it up to gratitude.
This isn’t about positive thinking, it’s more than that.
A life of gratitude brings transformation. Jesus gave thanks and broke bread. The one healed leper returned to give thanks and in return received wholeness, more than physical healing.
Study scripture to find the thread of thanksgiving and not only see how it proceeds miracles but precedes too.
Let’s get into the habit of Eucharisteo.
‘Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world’ Sarah Ban Breathnach