‘Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
As summer draws to a close and we enter Autumn, it can be a time for thanksgiving. Maybe you could give thanks to God for a lovely summer holiday, for a wedding, for friends and family or new beginnings at school or university. In October we will give thanks for the food that we have in abundance in this country.
In his letter to Ephesians, St Paul encourages us all to live our lives in an attitude of thankfulness. This is a good discipline but requies effort! Sometimes I will catch myself in the middle of a great long moan about something, and have to make myself stop. If you are feeling grouchy for no good reason, try smiling – the physical act of smiling makes you feel more cheerful wheather you want to or not!
However, living lives of thankfulness doesn’t mean that we should just ignore our sufferings or the sufferings of others and pretend that they don’t matter. We cannot be mindlessly cheerful all the time. The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time to laugh and a time to cry. Sometimes people are almost ashamed to talk about their troubles, saying they musn’t grumble, and implying that their sufferings are too small to be of concern compaired to other peoples. That is not right. All of our struggles and sufferings matter to God, however small they are. St Paul understood that if we can learn to be positive and thankful during the good times, then that will help sustain us through the bad times. In fact, he was in prison when he wrote to the Ephesians. Being thankful didn’t lessen his hardship, but it did help him to endure it.
So let us remember to be thankful … there’s a challenge for this Autumn. Whatever life may bring, it will be the better for having consciously tried to live in an attitude of thankfulness.
Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for all your blessings. Help us to live our lives with thankful hearts, in the name of Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who lived and died for us. Amen.
Your friend and Rector,