Week 2: Your Story
This week, we will look at where we've come from.
Spiritual Practice: Give Thanks
Throughout the book of Psalms, the songwriters give thanks to God and invite their listeners to do the same:
I will thank you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will talk about all your wonderful acts. (Psalm 9:1)
I will sacrifice to you freely;
I will give thanks to your name, LORD, because it’s so good. (Psalm 54:6)
Give thanks to the LORD because he is good,
because his faithful love lasts forever! (Psalm 107:1)
Perhaps the psalmists were acutely aware of how easy it is to dwell on what we don’t have than on what we have already been blessed with; maybe they knew how spiritually dangerous ingratitude is and how spiritually grounding it is to give thanks regularly and often. Giving thanks reminds us of the Giver and of the generosity and grace we have already been shown. Author Anne Lamott writes,
Gratitude runs the gamut from shaking your head and saying, “Thanks, wow, I appreciate it so much,” for your continued health, or a good day at work, or the first blooms of the daisies in the public park, to saying, “Thanks, that’s a relief,” when it’s not the transmission, or an abscess, or an audit notice from the IRS. “Thanks” can be the recognition that you have been blessed mildly, or with a feeling as intense as despair at the miracle of having been spared.
Giving thanks also changes our behavior. For when we are aware of our blessings, it leads us to a place of humble generosity and service to others; true gratitude leads us to be a blessing. It is no coincidence that the practice of communion, or the Lord’s Supper, central to our faith in reminding us of the grace of God as shown in Jesus, is referred to as the Eucharist, which comes from the Greek word eucharistia, meaning “thanksgiving.” This week, as we look at our stories, give thanks for the ways you notice God at work over the course of your life. But consider too what giving thanks might look like moment by moment and day to day. And what it might look like to give thanks together in community.
Verse of the Week: Romans 8:28
We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.