We all were taught as children to say “thank you” whenever somebody did something for us. That’s certainly a good and courteous habit. But real thankfulness is a deeper thing – a manner of living, rather than a conversational habit.
Thankfulness, or gratitude, is in fact the bedrock of Christian living – from which all other joys and virtues spring forth. Our weekly worship is itself an act of thanksgiving: the word Eucharist is from the Greek for “thanksgiving.”
When we gather to give thanks to God, we put ourselves in the right relationship with God: we are creatures, God is creator; we are receivers, God is the great giver; we are fallible and weak, God is righteous and strong. An “attitude of gratitude” helps us accept our humility and live joyfully and generously. We realize we don’t have to try to control everything. We do what we can, and then let God be God.
Of course life brings difficulties as well as joys. We don’t pretend to be thankful for disease or misfortune or loss, nor do we try to ascribe them to some incomprehensible plan God has laid out for us. No, we endure them, and give thanks as we are able for the people who help us through them, for God’s unfailing presence and love when all else seems to fail us.
This week, we begin St. Dunstan’s Annual Giving Campaign – for your financial pledge to support our church in 2017. We build this campaign around thanksgiving. We do not try to guilt anybody into giving; rather we remind ourselves of all that God has given us, and of the joy we receive when we give generously, for our church, and for the world. I hope you will approach the campaign from a place of gratitude in your heart. It really is joyful and satisfying to give money to help others and build a better world. In fact, there is no greater joy to be had from our material wealth than to give. JBM