One of the huge areas of healing in body, spirit, mind and distress is to be mindful of surroundings, our bodies, the air, the people, the colors, the smells, bells and whistles. When we are mindful we can often move into a process of gratitude, graciously remembering what we have, who is with us, and the tangible and intangible blessings which fill our lives.
I recently I filled out a gratitude journal which asked me to write down 3 friends I am grateful for, 3 opportunities I have had which I am grateful for, 3 blue things which I am grateful for, 3 books which I am grateful for, 3 things which make me laugh which I am grateful for, 3 fond memories I love to retell which make me grateful.
Each time I think over the answers, they are somewhat different, although my blue 1972 VW Super Beetle automatic shift is always on the blue list. But there is so much we can be grateful for and the list is never complete. And the mindfulness of gratitude always lifts our spirit for the moment, the hour, the day, or maybe the week.
In 1st Thessalonians 5:18, Paul writes, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will for you who belong to Christ.”
Always thinking of a compliment, a word of praise a positive affirmation is a very appealing attribute of a friend. Ed Riley, who was a former boss of mine, told me the secret to his management style was for each minute he had to criticize, he gave 5 minutes of praise. Never linger on the criticism, but linger on the praise.
What would be three things God would be grateful for in each of us? And three things in our congregation? Our denomination? The wider Church?
Do we make God smile through the day as we live out our wise and courageous faith? I hope so. Do we seek to write down our daily gratitudes and sing God’s praise, giving thanks as we live out our circumstances, both harsh and joyful, struggling and optimistic, difficult and bursting with light? Are we the people who shine a light on the eco-anxiety of our culture (the generalized sense that the ecological foundations of existence are in the process of collapse), or give hope to all which seems barren, plastic-coated and isolating?
Where are our grateful words, images and scriptures? Pull them out, read and share the mantras of faith and the courage of the cloud of witnesses around, behind and before us. Let’s begin this fall with an overwhelming sense of extravagant gratitude – of a most extravagant God.
Look at: Hebrews 12:1-2, Philippians 4:6-7, Romans 12:2, Proverbs 4:23.
In gratitude for our church, our faith and you,