Pastor’s Column – Nov 2022

Pastor’s Column – Nov 2022

“gratitude wallpaper_16:9” by dontstealmypen is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

1-2 On your feet now—applaud God!
    Bring a gift of laughter,
    sing yourselves into his presence.

Know this: God is God, and God, God.
    He made us; we didn’t make him.
    We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
    Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
    Thank him. Worship him.

For God is sheer beauty,
    all-generous in love,
    loyal always and ever.

Psalm 100, the message

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
    Serve the Lord with gladness;
    come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who 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.

psalm 100, NRSV

What is the difference between thanksgiving and gratitude? Are they just a different side of the same coin or does one go a bit deeper than the other? Would celebrating Gratitude Day be different than celebrating Thanksgiving Day?  If so, how? There are no right answers to these questions, but they do offer some food for thought, especially as Thanksgiving approaches. Some say thankfulness is a reaction to something in the moment and gratitude is more reflective, making sense of our past which can bring us lasting peace now.

Throughout scripture God’s people make use of both. They both react and reflect on God’s grace in their lives. God’s grace is so pervasive in their lives, so overwhelming that they can never truly give back all that God gave them. After all, how could they? How could we? How could we give back to God each breath we have taken, each refreshing sip of water, each nourishing bite of food, each relationship that makes us feel loved.  The psalmist’s response is both a reaction and reflection of God’s goodness. The Message translation will say “On your feet now- applaud God!” The NRSV will say, “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.” Both expresses thankfulness and gratitude for God is good; and God’s steadfast love endures forever and God’s faithfulness to all generation.

While we gather once a week to worship as Church, we are also called to praise and give thanks always. Meaning, our reaction and reflection of God’s grace isn’t just once a week, but it is whenever we choose to pause and acknowledge the pervasive grace that surrounds us always. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I invite you to carry with you the psalmist’s wisdom to remember from whom all blessings flow. React to the family, the food, the parades, with thanksgiving. Reflect on the steadfast love of God in your life, the people and places that have formed you and continue to be a refuge for you to experiences life fully.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

John f. Kennedy

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Oprah winfrey

When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.

vietnamese proverb

Blessings for the Journey,

Rev. Keith McDevitt