Monday, June 26, 2006


Harry Lehotsky is a Baptist minister and rabble-rouser in the core of Winnipeg's downtown. In the last few months, he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His legacy is long, though his life sentence is short. I have worked off and on at one of his church's ministries, the Ellice Cafe and Theatre, and have been privileged enough to see a true servant at work.

Tonight I went to "A Big Harry Night of Fun," a fundraiser put on by the West End Biz. The money raised will be put towards a new mural that will be added to the neighbourhood's increasingly colourful streets. There were speeches, dancing, tributes, and sermonettes. My favourite part of the evening (besides all the donated baking and a reference to the Cafe as "Le Hot Spot") was when Joan Hay, an aboriginal community activist, got up to speak and pray.

Her prayer was a simple, conversational, ground-level statement of gratitude. It went something a little like this:

I am not waiting for You to answer all my questions or fix my problems: I am thanking You right now.

I am not holding out for change or for things to suddenly turn better: I am thanking You right now.

I am not waiting until I get that job or achieve that goal or become who I want to be: I am thanking You right now.

I am not waiting until I've made sense of my past and put things in order so that I may understand: I am thanking You right now.

How often do I think of prayer as some magical wand or worse--vending machine? Prayer is talking to God, in spite of what might come of it. In Gord Downie's words, it is looking up to the sky above and saying "Hey Man, thanks." Pretty simple, and I like it. When we cease to be grateful, we are blinded to what God is doing in our lives.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, and thanks for reminding us to "give thanks".

coffeeman said...

Rabble-rouser. I like that:)One thing that registered with me was that being nice and being good, doing what God says are not always the same thing.

Being grateful. Here's a thought. Grace and gratitude come from the same Greek word 'charis' When we don't have gratitude we also don't have much of His grace

Ruth said...

"Sometimes I feel so good I gotta scream..." Odd how we can forget to give thanks in the here and now, to just be presentin each moment.
(that's one of my favourite songs:-))

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,
I grew up with Mark and I read your blog regularly. You are a beautiful writter and I really enjoy reading your thoughts. Thanks for sharing that prayer, it touched my heart and was what I needed to hear.
I would love to meet you someday,

Jen said...

Thanks Cathy, maybe one day our paths will cross...