The Discipline of Choosing Gratitude

Post date: Jul 03, 2020 5:8:44 PM

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Grace and peace to you!

Every once in a while I read something so succinct and Spirit-filled, there are no words to add by way of commentary. Thus was the case this week when I saw a post from Judy Daugherty wherein she quoted theologian Henri Nouwen. It is called “The Choice of Gratitude.”

Gratitude . . . goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint . . . The choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious . . . There is an Estonian proverb that says: “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” Acts of gratitude make one grateful because, step by step, they reveal that all is grace.

Come this Sunday in gratitude when we will gather online at 10:15 AM to chat with one another, and then worship together at 10:30 AM. Our anthem was recorded in the Sanctuary, featuring Sarah Gordon on flute playing “He Shall Feed His Flock/Come Unto Him.” Judith Daugherty on piano will play our Sermon-Prayer-Reflection “One Bread, One Body.” I am preaching from Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30 and my sermon title is A Kind Yoke. We will also celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper so please have bread and juice/wine with you during worship. 

In our current times, let us choose to practice the discipline of gratitude. And as we do, may we learn — no, may we know deep within our souls and live out the truth — that all is indeed grace.

In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish