On Sunday we answered four questions, starting with, “What do you love?” As I read out the answers during the prayers of the people, I realized that the things we love are also what we are most grateful for. Family, friends, community, loving relationships, grandkids, art, the beauty of nature, work that matters, all of these showed up in our answers.
As Christians, we have regular, traditional practices of gratitude. We give thanks at meals, thanking God for the food and for the people who made it. We give thanks to God each week in our worship in Holy Eucharist. The church word, Eucharist, is from the Greek word, eucharistia, meaning thanksgiving. Holy Communion, the sharing of bread and wine is a ritual of being the Body of Christ, the gathered family of God. Communion is a holy practice of thanksgiving.
Gratitude is good for my heart. When I give thanks, my minor annoyances fall away, I get just a little less selfish or self-concerned, and I become more aware of my need for and love for others. Expressing gratitude lifts my anxiety and calms me. Giving thanks changes my priorities in subtle, healthy ways. Giving thanks orients the eyes of my heart to seek the image of God.
So this year, as we participate in Thanksgiving Day, we bring our faith and our love to the tables around which we gather. We give thanks for the love God has poured into our hearts. We give thanks for the wisdom and freedom given through Christ. We give thanks for the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit. And, we give thanks for one another, as sisters and brothers, siblings in Christ.
Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your creativity and wisdom. Thank you for your integrity and kindness. I thank God for the good people of St. Dunstan’s Church, and all those good people we meet and work with through our work and worship together.