Monday, October 12, 2020

DAY 3

Image by Christian Kortum

Day 3 - Gratitude



A GREETING
In God I trust; I am not afraid.
O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
(Psalm 56:11a;12b)

A READING
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God through him.
(Colossians 3:16-17)

MUSIC


A MEDITATIVE VERSE
But you, O my God, have put in my mouth words like early rain
and a spring of living water that does not fail.
- the Thanksgiving Scroll (Hodayot)
(1QHa XVI:17, tr. by Eileen Schuller and Carol Newsom)


A REFLECTION
I am now convinced that examples of gratitude can be found in any culture and in any of the great religious traditions. God has not left us without teachers, without witnesses to grace. We have only to find them – and even our desire to find them is already its own grace. As a Christian I take Jesus as the great example of gratitude. I believe I can become more grateful in the imitation of Christ. There are no shortcuts in this regard. In order to understand what Jesus meant by gratitude we must live as he lived, do what he did. He continually blessed the God who was in his beginning and who was the point of his being. The power Jesus exercised was the power to create a new beginning, a new way of living and imagining the world that was according to the great economy of grace. He taught us that what we give away, including the gift of ourselves, grows and multiplies in the giving. He invited us to believe in a world transformed by the graciousness of giving.
- from Radical Gratitude, by Mary Jo Leddy


A BLESSING
May this day bring Sabbath rest into your heart and your home.
May God's image in you be restored, and your imagination in God be re-storied.
May the gravity of material things be lightened, and the relativity of time slow down.
May you know Grace to embrace your own finite smallness in the arms of God's infinite greatness.
May God's word feed you and God's Spirit lead you into the week and into the life to come.
- adapted from "Sabbath Prayer" by Pete Grieg.



Col. XVI of the Thanksgiving Scroll.
The square box frames today's Meditative Verse.
Click on image to enlarge.


In the past two days, we have confronted some of our sorrow over all that is taking place in this world, and we have reflected on how God encourages our creativity. Today we look for the ways in which we can experience God's grace by simply resting in the present moment, the place we always find ourselves. Our busy lives can make it hard to remember that the moment we are in is always a dwelling place with God, yet when we can make space for it, we may find that gratitude comes to meet us there. Gratitude comes to rest when we can look at everything that we have and feel the joy of ‘enough’. The Thanksgiving Scroll often uses images of water and gardens to describe the blessing of gratitude. In today's Meditative Verse, the writer describes how God has put rain in his mouth, a nourishing love that in turn has allowed him to be a source of refreshment and renewal to others. The image allowed those in the Qumran community, who lived in the middle of the dry and arid Judean wilderness, to feel connected to the abundance of Creation. With limited access to fresh water, God was the source of their nourishment. In our own time, in these pandemic days, connecting to our gratitude may be challenging. Some gratitudes come easy to say out loud: for family, for home, for friends and good health. But other gratitudes may not come as easily. We can be conflicted in our emotional and spiritual wellbeing, longing for the things we cannot do, and confronting the loneliness we feel and the people we miss. It can be hard to feel gratitude in the midst of physical and spiritual pain, or when we listen to accounts of injustice and cruelty. In this way, lament and gratitude can hold each other’s hand, offering solace to each other as the unpredictable waves of human experience wash over us. We can try hard to remember that God is grateful for each one of us, and God’s cherishing love wants only to see us restored to the fullness of wellbeing. In today’s reading from Colossians, and in the words of Mary Jo Leddy, we hear that our sense of gratitude grows when we do what Jesus does: when we take care of each other and grow communities of love. We can find the contentment of 'enough' and experience God's presence in the small and larger ways that we reach out to others in this day. In his Sabbath prayer, Pete Grieg encourages us to let the “gravity of material things be lightened, and the relativity of time slow down”. How can you find that liminal space of gentle rest on this holiday Monday? How can God’s peace make a space in your heart for radical gratitude to rise up and fill you?

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May God bless you this thanksgiving and may the peace of Christ be with you always.
Thanks for joining us in this mini-devotional. See you in Advent!

Image by John Creasy



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Thanks and peace be with you!