Giving Thanks – Even Now

Gratitude, as we know, isn’t simply an emotion that happens to arise at times. It is an act of the will, an intentional resolve to have a good attitude, an effort to notice easily overlooked blessings.

Teaching this past semester, in a bold and unprecedented move in a low church direction, I have opened class not with a carefully chosen collect, but with an invitation for students to voice spontaneously their petitions of praise, or lament, or thanksgiving. (After a few runs, though, the liturgist in me took over and I posted the format to begin the petition and wording of the communal response so it could become a properly organized litany.)

I have been struck by the depth of the students’ offerings. Working from memory, I’m jotting down some things I’ve heard. Please add to this list in the commbox. We’ll take care of moving your petitions up into the post. What are you thankful for?

I give thanks for…

  • doctors, health care works, and scientists developing vaccines.
  • modern technology that makes it possible for us to worship together online.
  • online and distance learning possibilities.
  • the gift of making music.
  • the gift of studying and learning music.
  • community members who pray for and support those who are ill.
  • beautiful fall weather.
  • all the love and compassion that is being spread around. I’ve always known I have a great support system, but this year has made me really appreciate my family and friends even more. (MN)
  • all of creation and its cosmic hymn of praise, always sounding, always there, even (or: especially?) when church doors must remain closed. (TB)
  • the opportunity to take a sabbath, read a lot, and for the turning of the year which draws us into a movement not of our own making. (LL)
  • the gift of grace – both received and given. (AD)
  • the amazing ability to connect with people states away for virtual lunch or coffee (why did this never occur to us before?). (KH)
  • phone calls with our neighbors, checking in on how they’re doing. (KH)
  • a forced familial bubble which has afforded my children an abundance of quality time with their grandparents. (KH)
  • home and food, for strangers who bond over shared hardships, and friends who hold us up in the midst of them, for leaders who rose to the unique challenges of this time with elan. (RF)

… We give you thanks, O God.

The featured image Thanksgiving face mask is from this site.

 

2 comments

  1. It’s a bizarre feeling, but I am truly grateful for adversity. These past months have shown me what a spoiled crybaby I am (and, I feel it safe to say, I’m not lacking in companions). I’ve thought frequently about my Dad, a 12-13 year old boy in an orphanage during the Spanish flu, who watched other children suffer and die in their large communal dormitory room. He was then sent out to work after 8th grade graduation. There was work for 13 year old boys in rural Wisconsin, due to World War I.

    I’ve come to realize that most of what I at first referred to as hardship or sacrifice is pretty much inconvenience and/or nuisance. There are people in the world truly suffering, truly enduring hardships (not just connected to the pandemic). I’m trying to use the slight restrictions on my pampered, insulated existence to open my eyes and attune my conscience to those who really are sacrificing and suffering, doing what I can to alleviate or alter the inequities behind that, and trying to make changes in my life so that I can come out the other side of this time not merely healthy, but stronger and more whole so that I can, in gratitude, be of service of others.

    In particular, I’ve been moved and inspired by and grateful for the healthcare workers I’ve seen on the news; the bruising on their faces from wearing N95 masks for hours seems to me a type of stigmata.

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