It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to your name, Most High;
to proclaim your loyal love
in the morning,
your faithfulness at nighttime.
Good Day Family,
Several years ago, I decided to give up complaining for Lent. I would not complain or even listen to someone else complain about anything. I had to add the second part because complaining is contagious in my experience. It’s all too easy to join in when someone begins to list all the things that are wrong while ignoring what is right. Let me be clear that I still engaged in evaluation and constructive critique. Those lead to changing actions, practices, and behavior. They make the situation better. When I gave up complaining, I gave up looking at a situation or condition from a negative perspective. I wanted to change my attitude rather than a specific situation.
To succeed in that, I had to add something else as well. When you give up something, it creates a void that needs to be filled. I filled the space of complaint with the practice of gratitude. I began to end each evening by writing two or three sentences giving thanks in a journal I started just for that purpose. It changed my thinking, and as a result, changed my life. Gratitude can do that. I am so glad—grateful, even—that I have continued that practice. It has made all the difference in the midst of this period of pandemic.
There are so many Bible verses that exhort us to “give thanks,” but I prefer to say that I am grateful. One is something that you do; the other reflects who you are, how you live, and the way you think. Gratitude becomes a way of life.
This Lent, we will participate in a Bible Study on Sunday mornings, on Zoom, using the book, Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass. Here is a brief quote from the book:
What is gratitude? And why is it so hard? Does being thankful really change things? Could our lives be different if we were more grateful? Might a new understanding of gratitude open a way of healing and compassion—both for ourselves and for those around us?
I encourage you to purchase the book and read one chapter each week and join us for a discussion at 9 am on Sundays beginning February 21. For your convenience, there is a link below to purchase the book from Amazon, but you can purchase it from any bookseller.
On Ash Wednesday, February 17, we will have Drive-through Ashes in the parking lot from 12 – 1 pm (weather permitting) and an online worship service at 7 pm. More details about Holy Week Services will be coming soon.
Link to Grateful: https://amzn.to/3cy0ACf