GRATITUDE IN ACTION -MONDAY
Rev Marie’s comments are at the end
Psalm 136 (1-9)
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods, for His steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Who alone does great wonders, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Who by understanding made the heavens, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Who spread out the earth on the waters, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Who made the great lights, for His steadfast love endures forever.
The sun to rule over the day, for His steadfast love endures forever.
The moon and stars to rule over the night, for His steadfast love ensures forever.
“He himself is before all things, and in him, all things hold together”
Eternal God, you create us by your power and redeem us by your love. Guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves today in love and service to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily Devotions – For Adults 3 Diocese of Algoma ‘Lift Up Your Hearts’
Rev. Marie's thoughts
On Sunday we will look at the idea of sacrifice and note that for us this means doing something uncomfortable or costly or giving up something we treasure. In ancient times, the idea was much more costly. A sacrifice involved blood and death and an irreversible giving of life. In the pagan world, the hope was that by giving of our best, a god might be appeased and send rain, or good crops or fertility. An angry God might be “bought off” and relent from sending calamity, famine or war.
We still hear echoes of that. “God, if only you will heal my child, I will go back to church, give money to the cancer society, be a better person”. “If you send this email or Facebook message to ten friends, money will come your way”. We attempt to control God by our actions.
Yet our opening psalm reminds us that God has already done great things, not because we have offered up this or that but because “his steadfast (unchanging/utterly dependable) love endures forever”. Nothing we can offer or do can change that love. We cannot “buy God off” with our service or our gifts of money or effort. “In him, all things hold together” not because of what we do but because of who he is.
In light of this, why does St. Paul urge us to offer our bodies “ as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God”? .(Romans 12:1,2)
One friend of mine used to quip that the problem with a living sacrifice is that as often as we lay it on the altar it manages to slither off! I have found that to be too true at times!
We do not offer “ourselves, our souls and bodies” as the prayer book says, so that we can change God’s mind, but because in doing so, our minds are changed.(Look at Romans 12:1,2 again)
As we offer up our service, our homes and vehicles, our cupboards and our schedules, our bank accounts and our attention, we begin to change our outlook and our thoughts. And we do this, not because it is forced or only out of duty, but rather in response to the love we receive from God. The key to a generous and sacrificial life is allowing ourselves to be bathed in God’s love, taking the time to notice over and over again the goodness of God towards us and to respond in gratitude.
This kind of “sacrifice” then begins to feel nothing like sacrifice. It becomes, an expression of joy and love and praise. The Great Thanksgiving prayer captures this in the words “our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving”. We begin to realize, in a soul deep way – to the very cells of our being – that all we are and all we have come from God, and we but give him back his own.