As we here at St. David’s are observing a Lenten “Season of Gratitude”, I would like to begin by giving thanks to God for each of you. It is an honor and a delight to be a partner in ministry with you here at St. David’s, as we seek together to spread the Good News of the Gospel to our world. Our world and the communities we live in are in need of that Good News, the news that God loves us and cares very deeply about our world. As we approach Holy Week and Easter we are reminded of the depth of that love.
The Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist write: “Gratitude is so important that the fundamental action of Christian worship is the Eucharist, an act of gratitude that literally means “great thanksgiving.” “Let us give thanks to the Lord,” the celebrant invites us. And we respond, “It is right to give God thanks and praise.” Gratitude is a great gift, which we are made to receive and offer back to God. And to do that, we need to practice!”
Our St. Paul Team has done a great job of resourcing us with practical ways to “practice” gratitude. Their website, which can be accessed through www.stdavidscranbury.com (click on the purple Christian Formation Lent button), has many articles and ideas on how to practice giving thanks and cultivating gratitude in our lives. There are ideas for families and adults, two Bible Study series, and a section on “Grati-tools” which have very practical ways of practicing gratitude. Our Lenten Soup Supper group is reading the book “Gratitude Works!” and discussing ways to live a grateful life. And I hope you received your Gratitude Journal here at church. Listing 5 or 10 things or people you are grateful for each day can change the way you view the world. In addition, a closed Facebook group holds a weekly discussion online evenings.
What makes this a Christian Spiritual Practice is that we are intentionally giving thanks to God and Jesus for all that we have. Life is a great gift. The very fact that we are here, right now, is a gift from God. All that we have is a gracious gift from God. The more we notice the good things around us, the more we will see that there is much to be grateful for. It is said that what we focus on becomes our reality, when we focus on the blessings of our lives, rather than only the challenges, we begin to recognize just how privileged we are. It takes time and practice, but over time we can change our bias and our brains will begin to see the world differently. Time and patience will win out!
“If the only prayer you ever say in life is “thank you”, it will be enough”.