I am not sure that gratefulness is a virtue, but if it isn’t, it should be.  Gratefulness changes everything of the heart from bitter, angry, power-hungry, self-centeredness to sweet, forgiving, humble, loving ways.

I can wax poetic about gratefulness and what it offers when we live that standard, but what we need is to BE grateful.  Grateful in ways that develop out of awareness of what is good, resilient, hopeful and promising for us and for our world. 

Gratefulness seems to be in short supply these days.  And if something comes along to spark goodness that inspires us to be grateful for anything, you can expect somebody, somewhere to make every effort to tear it down.  I read a story about Rahul Dubey, in D.C., who opened his home to 70 marching protestors as the curfew hit and people could not get home.  People were asking to sit on his steps, get out of the way of advancing police, avoid being pepper sprayed or arrested. Through the night, he entertained and gave shelter to a host of strangers.  It was inspiring.  It made me proud and very grateful that someone could overcome the obstacles of personal space and safety to offer shelter.  Sure it was dangerous, absolutely there was risk of Covid virus. But I was pressed into a deeper awareness of how much that selfless act changed me, and I am sure those who gratefully accepted his hospitality.  And don’t you know it – yesterday a journalist wrote an expose on the host, saying that he had ulterior motives, that he worked a field that would benefit from his hospitality, and that he had only opened up his home for selfish reasons.  NAH! I don’t accept that.  

I don’t know if Rahul is Christian.  Virtues can be lived and exhibited without having the source of the Holy Spirit.  However, I can say that having the source of God inspired and Spirit strengthened resolve to live in ways that change me for good, that offer hope and promise, is a sacred and holy unearned gift.  Inspired out of God’s goodness to us, gratefulness seems to be a summation of the attitude that we can develop by telling the story of Jesus Christ.  Here is the a big picture story that will provide heart and soul gratefulness.  I am grateful to God for loving us so much that God sent God’s self to humanity to resolve the dilemma of a broken world.  I am grateful for the obedience of quiet, unknown vessels of God, like Mary and Joseph. They, at great risk, obediently accepted responsibility to receive Jesus, the gift of hope for the world.  They nurtured  prepared him for his call to live the Gospel of Love with selfless abandon.  I am grateful that while Jesus lived over two thousand years ago, in a tiny spot on a huge planet, despite power, evil, wars, temptations and human failures, that the Gospel is still the greatest story ever told.  I am grateful for Jesus, divine and human, who took on our sins to reconcile us to God.  I am so profoundly grateful that in Christ, I can be forgiven and come to God for all that I need, confident in God’s mercy.  

The immensity of the love of God is a source of gratefulness.  Like parched land without rain for days on end, showers of love renew us as we read and remember God’s character.  New life springs out of our awareness.  Grateful.

The small ways of gratefulness must be cultivated.   It is a practice.  We are called by our faith to build up not tear down ourselves and others.  Gratefulness seems to me, to be a gateway to a holy perspective. With gratefulness we are able to move beyond our “sometime nature” of negative, self-absorbing complaints.  Gratefulness sets us apart from society, which appears to breed and thrive on suspicion about every action, everyone, everything.

Gratefulness allows us to see the good in God, the good in ourselves, our community, our leaders, our nation and our world.

May we live gratefully, in ways that witness to Jesus Christ’s story, our hope and the hope of the world.  May we cultivate the life-giving, daily practice of naming what we are grateful for, each morning and every night.  To God be the glory, in whom all things are found!

I am grateful for you, for your love of God!  Pastor Lisa 

“Hymn of Grateful Praise”.  Best enjoyed outside in the cool morning, with the birds accompanying this lovely rendition.
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