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GRATITUDE IN ACTION – WEDNESDAY

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OPENING

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness;

come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.

It is he that made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and His courts with praise,
give thanks to him,

bless his name.

For the Lord is good;

his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.

SCRIPTURE

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16

CLOSING PRAYER

Christ Jesus, by nature divine, did not grasp for himself a rank as equal with God. He chose to empty himself becoming a humble slave, and living the life of a man. And human in every way, He abased himself still more, obedient to death on a cross. So God has exalted him on high and given to him the name the greatest of all the names; So that at Jesus’ name every knee should bend low in Heaven, on earth, in the depths. And every tongue proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. Amen.

Rev. Marie’s thoughts:

 

“Preach the Gospel at all times.  When necessary, use words.”

There is disagreement about who first said these words, but little disagreement about their truth.  To be sure, the good news of God’s unimaginable love for his creatures is expressed by God’s giving of himself for us.  The Gospel is God’s good news and if we believe it to be true, it will change our lives in profoundly. That change in our values, our purpose, our thoughts and our actions will be clearly evident.  Faith must be lived out before we can speak about it with integrity.

 

While this is true, it does not let us off the hook about speaking. Think of someone newly in love.  The hardest thing one can ask of them is to be quiet about it!  They want to speak to their lover at every opportunity.  They want to speak about the beloved.  They want to talk about this special person, this great love, their overwhelming good fortune. What does it say when we affirm our love for Jesus and our gratitude for the gift of God’s love and think we can be silent about it?

 

Beyond that, speaking what we think and believe is critical.  As we speak, we give form and reality to the thoughts and emotions inside us.  They become deeper and more solid somehow. As we speak to and about the one we love, we begin to notice more and more of who they are and how they have changed our being .  Our attention is focused, moving from the world around us to looking at the face of the one we love. Our words of gratitude and thanksgiving, of love and response build relationship with the one we love. We know this to be true of our human relationships.  It is even truer in our relationship with God.

 

Take a few minutes and read the psalm above, putting it in the first person ( I have tried to give an example of that below).  Better yet, go outside into the beauty of our Northern Ontario fall and read this aloud (if you do it in the middle of the day when they are at work, or late at night, your neighbours may not see you and think you are crazy!).  Take out a picture of a person you love, or a baby or grandbaby that is blessing your life, and whisper the words of the psalm over them. Hold a cross in your hand, or gaze at a piece of art.

 

Take a few minutes and reflect – what kind of love drives a God like our God to limit himself to a frail human body and let the very creatures he formed pin him on a cross?  What kind of love is stronger than death? What kind of love, loves us at our most unlovable and brings us to health and wholeness?  Let that reality seep into your heart and mind and then give it words – perhaps these words based on Psalm 100

 

I will make a joyful noise to the Lord, with all the earth.

I will worship the Lord with gladness;


I will come into his presence with singing.

(perhaps pause here and sing a song or hymn of praise.  You don’t have to have a great voice, just a grateful heart)

 

I know that the Lord is God.


It is he that made us, and we are his;

(I am not alone.  God has made me part of the great family who sing these praises!)

we are his people, and the sheep of His pasture.

(and oh, how tenderly my Good Shepherd cares for me! I love the window over the altar at St. John’s – I am that little lamb held close in Christ’s arms)

 

So I will enter your gates, my God, with thanksgiving,

and your courts with praise,


I give thanks to You , though I hardly have the words to do so

I will bless your name.

For you, O Lord are good;


your steadfast love endures forever,

and your faithfulness to all generations.

 

Gratitude must be spoken –and lived out – if it is real.  And the speaking and the singing and the living make it real.

 

 

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