Thanksgiving | 08
Listen to or read this gratitude-inducing Scripture passage from Psalm 66:16-20.
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
Gratitude Memories – In a moment of quiet, recall one “grateful memory,” which Jim Wilder describes as a memory in which “1) you feel gratitude in your body, and 2) you feel a connection with God in the memory.” (The Other Half of Church) This can be the birth of a child or watching a sunrise. Bring the memory to mind, and sit in that memory for 1 minute. Ask yourself: What did I feel in my body? Perhaps “calm” or “peace.” Then ask: What might God be communicating to me through this moment? Perhaps “God is with me” or “He delights to give me beauty.” When your mind drifts off, don’t worry, just bring your focus back to God in that memory.
Give this memory a 2 or 3 word title such as “Sunset with friends” and record it in a Gratitude Memories list in your journal or in your phone. Do this each week and you will have 8 moments of gratitude to return to and help restore a sense of joy and gratitude in the Lord. Consider returning to these moments for 1-5 minutes regularly (first weekly, and perhaps increasing eventually to daily).
In your journal, write out a brief prayer thanking God for giving you the gratitude moment you recalled this week. Ask God for the opportunity to be a part of those kinds of moments for others in your life, bringing specific people to mind. Then pray this liturgy with them still in mind:
Every Moment Holy, Volume 1: “A Liturgy Before Serving Others”
O Christ Who Made Himself the Servant of All,
I would set my heart and my affections upon you–and upon you alone–for I can only serve others rightly when such service is undertaken from first to last as an act of devotion offered to you.
In serving you I am freed from my need for the praise of others. So that even if my kindnesses are shed from scarred hearts as rain from a sloped tin roof, my joy will not be dimmed, for I will know that you have received and remembered each act of sacrifice, and reckoned it as a love rendered to you.
So let my love be sincere, and let my service be fearless, O Lord.
I would serve in imitation of you, who poured out your life for me. I would serve knowing that your spirit is ever at work in the lives of those I serve, ever calling, ever drawing, ever seeking to soften hearts encased in fear and disappointment and anger and idolatry. So let my kindnesses and sacrifice fall like shafts of warm sunlight on icy ground.
I cannot know the end of another person’s story. Our lives so often only briefly intersect. So let me be content to minister regardless of visible outcomes, trusting that the small mercies I extend will be woven into the larger theme of redemption at work in the lives of others as you woo them them to yourself, drawing their hearts by graces offered, and shaping my own heart too in this process of learning to serve well, and by learning to serve well, learning to love well.