Psalm 69:30-36

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.

Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.

For the Lord hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds.

Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them.

For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; and his servants shall live there and possess it;

the children of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall live in it.

                                                                                                Psalm 69:30-36

 

I look at the calendar and I realized again that Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner.  So let’s think about thanksgiving a bit this week.

 

You would think that thanksgiving, feeling gratitude, ought to be the easiest emotion to access in the world.  Just waking up in the morning is a blessing.  Even from the vantage point of our beds, we can already see the blessings of our lives that have come to us, most of which we can claim no responsibility for. 

 

Martin Luther listed many of the daily blessings of life in the Small Catechism’s meaning of daily bread:  Daily bread includes everything needed for this life, such as food and clothing, home and property, work and income, a devoted family, an orderly community, good government, favorable weather, peace and health, a good name, and true friends and neighbors.  It is a good list but still falls short of naming all the daily blessings of life.

 

So why does it seem so hard to live in gratitude?  To feel thankful?

 

Because naming our blessings reminds us that we aren’t in charge and we are not responsible for all the good that comes to us in our lives.  Thus, if we choose to feel resentful or depressed or misunderstood or anxious, as painful as those negative emotions feel, they allow us to live with the illusion that we are in charge.  We might feel wronged or forgotten or left out or lacking…but we still get to be the boss.

 

Because naming our blessings reminds us that every blessing comes with a responsibility attached to it.  Everything in life comes with a tag that says “Use As Intended”.  Again, ego enters the picture and suddenly a gift becomes a burden.  The failure to be grateful in our lives opens a new door where irresponsibility makes sense.

 

And sometimes, quite honestly, life is really hard.  Gratitude in the face of the difficulties of life is actually the point and a powerful source of encouragement for us.  But we can’t get there by pretending that life isn’t hard.  Even Psalm 69 includes many lines from the painful moments in Jesus’ life.  He needed to express his pain to get to thanksgiving.  Why should we be any different?

 

So today is Monday.  Thanksgiving Day is around the corner.  But giving thanks is available to us today.  Not only available but essential.

 

Let us pray:  We give you thanks, O Lord, for the blessings of our lives and the opportunity to greet today with gratitude.  May we see your face in the face of others, your hands holding all that is ours, your Spirit prompting and moving us as we enjoy and use well the blessings we have received.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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2 Responses to “Psalm 69:30-36”

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