Recently, with Thanksgiving getting closer on the calendar, I have had a line from a song stuck in my head. “Give thanks with a grateful heart; give thanks to the Holy One”. This is a worship song heard often in church when I was a child. I didn’t question the words when I was younger but this year I have been wondering about this “grateful heart” I keep singing about. You see, in our North American wellness culture—something promoted by companies selling us ointments, activewear and books, and the easy-to-digest proverbs on sites like Instagram—I worry we are conflating gratitude and happiness.
My church was one of the lucky ones. When the pandemic hit, though we weren’t live-streaming at the time, we had an impressive tech booth set up and ready to go. We’d been working towards multisite worship with some minister-less churches in our region so the move to livestreaming through social media was relatively easy.
Last Wednesday, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit declared outbreaks of COVID-19 at both the Thunder Bay District Jail and the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre. Many of our families have loved ones who are connected to these two institutions as either inmates or staff. Alongside this announcement came backlash from Conservatives to Canada’s vaccine roll-out plan, especially to the planned vaccination of 600 inmates as quickly as possible.