GRATITUDE IN ACTION - TUESDAY
Rev. Marie’s thoughts are at the end:
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving kindness to us and all who you have made. We bless you for your creation, preservation, and the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to who with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:38-39
Creator of the universe, the light of our glory shines in the darkness of our lives. Make us attentive to your presence, prompt to serve you and ever eager to follow in the steps of the one who is our true light, Jesus Christ your son our Lord. Amen.
Rev. Marie’s observations
Sometimes being thankful comes easy. The bills are paid, the house is warm and the pantry well stocked. The people we love are well and we are at peace with them. We have activities that demand our best efforts and give us a deep sense of purpose. We go to bed, happily tired because life has been rich and full.
And then there are the other times when, well, not so much! It may be that we have all the blessings we listed above, but still the vague sense of uneasiness or the cold darkness of depression nibbles at the edges of our peace and we find guilt adding to the load we carry but cannot accurately define. Other times, the troubles are more concrete. The month may be longer than the money, our health is failing, someone we love is grieving or at odds with us or . . .
It can be hard to remember that God is in both places and all the places in between. St. Paul knew this well, but he had learned a reality that was deeper and truer than the circumstances that plagued his life. He knew the joy of all things coming together and watching people’s lives transformed by the good news he preached. He also knew cold and hunger and poor health and worry and persecution and impending violent death. Yet he remained “convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
He had learned, he says in several places, to be thankful always. To be thankful for what, one might ask. Well our opening prayer is a great one to pray on those days when being thankful is more an exercise in obedience than an outflowing of emotion.
We pray with thanks “above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.” God’s love, shown in our redemption, Jesus Christ – God himself who came so we might know that love, the means of grace and the hope of glory. These are all gifts for which we can be grateful regardless of our circumstances. These never change. And as we fix our minds on them, grow to be grateful people, not motivated by our emotions but rather by the power of the unchanging love of Christ. Having “ an awareness of (God’s) mercies,” results in truly thankful hearts that “show forth (God’s) praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to (God’s) service, and by walking before (God) in holiness and righteousness all our days”
Our service grows not out of duty or obligation, but hearts willing to make the sacrifice of praise in the darkness as much as in the light.