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St. Paul’s – Thanksgiving – 2023

Gratitude is like a muscle. It gets stronger with exercise. I suspect, in fact I firmly believe, that Gratitude also feeds Generosity.

There is a myth in North American culture, the myth of the “self-made man” (and in the myth it is almost always referred to in male terms). In this passage Moses, knowing that people have poor memories or see history in different ways at times, pushes people to remember that they got where they were because God was with them.

This reading from Deuteronomy reminds us that one of the first steps in gratitude, in being thankful, is to remember. We are thankful when we remember that we are the recipients of gifts. We are thankful (or are more likely to be thankful) when we remember that we did not get what we have all by ourselves.

So what gifts have changed your life? Why do you give thanks this year? Look beyond the obvious, easy answers. I encourage all of us to look at various parts of our lives and find the more hidden gifts, the more hidden reasons we are thankful.

Car accident……teachers…..brought food to able….put roads together

There are practices of life that have a transformative effect. Gratitude/Thanksgiving is such a thing. The more we recognize that we have to be thankful for, the more we share our words of gratitude and thanksgiving the more we are changed. When we recognize that we have been gifted, we are more likely to share those gifts with the world around us. We are more likely to do that sharing cheerfully and freely rather than as a task that we ‘ought’ to do. And then that sharing has the potential to be transformative in the world, which leads to more sharing, which lead to more transformation… and so on.


Kate Bowler:

God, I am struggling to find my way toward gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Help my heart find joy, for you know how much I need it.

come meet us in our needs that weigh so heavily upon us.

“Will you not revive us again,

that your people may rejoice in you?”

—Psalm 85:6

Blessed are we who come to you just as we are,

with our loneliness and loss, our scarcity and sorrow,

and say God, there is just not enough

though we’re not even supposed to say it today,

there is just not enough to go on:

not enough money to pay bills,

not enough jobs, nor safety for those who have them,

not enough wisdom to find solutions,

not enough strength or comfort or connection.

Things are just harder now.

Blessed are we who say, God,

could you come meet us here,

in this place?

This place of need where our feelings don’t match the day?

Blessed are we who hear you saying:

“come to me, all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens,

and I will give you rest.”

And we come.

And somehow there is rest,

and gladness for tiny, tiny graces.

Blessed are we, the truly thankful.   AMEN+