As I write this letter it happens to be my birthday. I am 54 years young/old and will be enjoying some time with the family tonight once my work is done. We don’t make a big thing of birthdays in our family but it is nice to pause for a moment and gather with friends and/or family and give thanks.
Earlier today I was involved in a zoom meeting in preparation for the funeral service for Diana Jones. Funerals are also an opportunity for family and friends to remember and give thanks for her life and the interactions she shared. So alongside the grief and loss there is also appreciation.
Thankfulness should be a part of a Christians DNA. Our Sunday pausing affords us time to have a broader perspective on life and give value to creation, people, and the love of God shown to us in Jesus. Yet the burden of responsibility can feel like thankfulness is far from our minds. This is accentuated when September appears again, with yet another round of meetings and decision making. It can get too much for everyone at times, and we have to be careful that none of us have too much responsibility. Yet thankfulness is a state of mind that we can learn to frequent more easily with time. Take the life of the church as an example. We could, if we were that way inclined, talk in negative terms with regards to what is happening. This could be punctuated with phrases such as “it was much better in the past”, “I wouldn’t have done it that way in my day”, and frustrations that “nobody seems to know what is happening”. These all may be legitimate responses to situations we find ourselves in, yet they are draining and don’t in themselves bring any solutions.
Despite all the shortcomings of the church there is much that we should give thanks for and appreciate on a daily basis. We are a diverse group of people who endeavour to live a Christian life in the heart of the city centre. Living in community as a church is hard, but when we put that alongside all the other groups who call the centre their home it throws up many challenges. However we strive to live this out to the best of our abilities, because we believe it represents something of the kingdom of God. That kingdom is on a daily basis flawed, but the striving for it is about reaching for a Christ like ethos in our dealings with all parts of the community.
That is just one example of what we should give thanks for, I hope that you will have many you will consider. I encourage you to have a thankful heart during the month of September, which will hopefully, and prayerfully get us through the large list of meetings, responsibilities and decision making. So in short……Be thankful.