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Gratitude Practice (11/25/2012)

From: T.M. Schoewe

Another Thanksgiving Day has passed. Do you remember when you were growing up your grandparents sent you a few dollars, maybe it was a five spot, and your folks asked you to send a “Thank you” letter? Days later they asked if you sent your thanks and you had not. So you were reminded again and again, and finally you got a round-to-it. You can buy or make a “round-to-it.” It can be a nice thing to have in your pocket to help you think of those things you should do or give thanks for.

And so it seems we have to learn the practice of “thanksgiving.” And once that happens, you will get the good feeling that comes with anticipating thanksgiving and looking back when it has passed, reflecting on a festive meal in solemn gratitude for our country and the Good News that came into the flesh many years ago, Who gives us our “daily bread,” our family and friends, and our church which reminds us to be generous to and grateful for our neighbor. And who is our neighbor? A neighbor is someone nearby, wherever you are.

We pause here to note this faith and practice comes to us through God’s people and permeates the Psalms which are in the center of your Bible. The Psalms are full of praise and thanksgiving for creation and the CREATOR. It is so central to our faith that nature itself is described as joining in with the songs (psalms), the hymns of praise and thanksgiving where we hear “the floods clap theirs hands, the sea roars, the fields exult and the trees of the forest sing for joy.” The psalms tell us the creation is good, and though fallen due to man‚s doubt in the garden, it is good and its abundance is a sign of God’s abundant goodness. So when one looks at creation one sees something of the Creator.

And here we discover that we are to have „dominion‰ over creation. In language of today that is “stewardship.” We hear about that in churches this time of year and it‚s mostly about money. But it is more than that! Look at what we have done in our dominion of the earth! Polluted, cluttered, depleted and poisoned the earth, water and air. We have had the hottest summer, destructive forest fires and one of the worst droughts in history. Yet not one presidential candidate mentioned or suggested what to do! As responsible stewards we need to speak the truth. As human beings that have been given a wonderful paradise from our Creator, it is our business to speak out, and to do so out of thanksgiving and for the sake of our children, so that they may see the same goodness in creation and God’s abundant goodness in their lives.

Aging deepens our gratitude down through the years and it calls us to the outdoors, to the simple things, to love the plain world, the stones and wood, air and H2O. Just witnessing nature and experiencing the world around us is a glorious thing; so is hearing, feeling and tasting. It is no wonder we sing in thanksgiving, “now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices.” This is most certainly true!

P.S. Aging is another opportunity to practice gratitude and to share your gifts with “the least of these” of whom the Lord spoke. 


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