THE WORD FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
Psalm 149 paraphrased by Nan C. Merrill from Psalms for Praying
Praise the Beloved!
Sing a joy-filled song praising
the Blessed One among
Be glad in the Creator,
rejoice in Love Divine!
Praise the Holy One with dancing,
with melodies and voice!
For the Beloved dwells within,
journeying with us through
all our lives,
Leading us in truth and love.
The humble are adorned with honor;
the faithful exult in glory,
singing for joy with
With truth on our tongues,
with gratitude as our friend,
We are in harmony with the universe,
as we hold hands with
all the people.
The chains of oppression are broken,
the fetters of injustice unbound.
The realm of Peace and Love shall reign!
Glory abides with those who are
Praise the beloved!
All people on earth, welcome
Love’s Companioning Presence
into your hearts!
THE WORD FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT Rev. Susan
…be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Gratitude” a film by Louie Schwartzberg
words by Brother David Steindl-Rast
A Gratitude Meditation
Martin Copenhaver, the President of Andover Newton Theological Seminary wrote in The Christian Century this month about John Kralik, who wrote a book called 365 Thank Yous where he tells about writing a thank-you note a day for an entire year. Copenhaver tells us, “He didn’t resolve to write all of those thank-you notes at a time when he was feeling particularly grateful. In fact, it was at a particularly low time in his life. His small law firm was losing money and losing its lease. He was going through a difficult divorce. He lived in a small, stuffy apartment where he often slept on the floor under an ancient air conditioner. He was middle-aged, overweight, and at the end of his rope.
Then, one day, he got lost on a mountain hike and didn’t know how to get home. By the time he found his way down the mountain he had a plan. He would write a thank-you note each day for a year. He writes, ’My only problem: Did I have anything to be grateful for? The way my life was going, I hardly thought so.’
But he got started, by writing notes to the people close to him, his family and friends. Then it got harder. ‘One day,” he writes, ‘I just couldn’t think of anybody to thank.’ He stopped at his regular Starbucks, where the barista greeting him by name —‘John, your usual venti?’ — and with a big smile. Kralik reflected, ‘I thought, this is really kind of a great gift in this day and age of impersonal relationships, that someone had cared enough to learn my name and what I drank in the morning.’ So he wrote the barista a thank-you note. And so it went through the year. Each day a thank-you note, each day a day of thanksgiving.
Kralik says the experience of expressing thanks day in and day out changed the way he approached life. It even got him to church:
‘I had considered myself something of an atheist for years, but I started going to this church. The music was plentiful, delivered with … genuine enthusiasm. The dominant message was that grace was still available. To everyone. Even to me. I can deal with that, I thought. Through the process of writing thank-you notes, I had developed a notion of being blessed with grace.’
Copenhaver adds, “There is something about offering thanks that makes us whole.”
Psychologists have scientifically proven that one of the greatest contributing factors of overall happiness in your life is how much gratitude you show. They did an experiment where they brought in different people and had them close their eyes and think of a person who was really influential in their lives, who had made a difference. Then write down as much as they could about why this person was important. Then they had them call the person and read what they had wrote to them, with amazing results.
So this morning I want to lead you in a short gratitude meditation. I invite you to close your eyes (it will make it easier to concentrate). Image a person you are grateful for. Now think of all the reasons, then silently tell them, and feel yourself being filled with love. (silence for about 30 seconds) You may now open your eyes. I encourage you to contact that person and tell them about this experience - why they have made a difference in your life, and thank them.
Years ago, my mother wrote each member of our family a hand written note for Christmas telling us how much she loved us and why. Years later, I still have that letter. I can’t tell you how much it means to me.