Being thankful is one of those qualities of life people seem obsessed with all the time. We have a major holiday around it. We find whole sections of Hallmark cards on the theme of thanks. Ask parents what some of the first words we teach our children are, and invariably the words, “thank you,” will be high on the list.
And yet, gratitude is not meant to be something that’s simply external or an expression of social etiquette. It is something to be cultivated on a regular basis for the sake of our souls and spirits and our connections to God and to each other. So much tries to prevent us from this posture towards life, but when we see its necessity for our basic survival each day we can easily make strides to truly be grateful for so much in our lives.
It is food for our lives, and the food of our lives.next >
I will repay you for the years that the cutting locust, the swarming locust, the hopping locust, and the devouring locust have eaten— my great army, which I sent against you.
You will eat abundantly and be satisfied, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has done wonders for you; and my people will never again be put to shame.
You will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God—no other exists; never again will my people be put to shame.
Joel 2:25-27next >
Although challenging and heart wrenching, the experience of reconciliation is fundamental to our faith. Forgiveness, repentance, and the work of peace – all of this is rooted in humility and gratitude. The surprise and miracle is that it often begins with God.
The Bible scholar Marcus Borg writes in The God We Never Knew (1997):
“God wills our liberation, our exodus from Egypt. God wills our reconciliation, our return from exile. God wills our enlightenment, our seeing. God wills our forgiveness, our release from sin and guilt. God wills that we see ourselves as God’s beloved… In short, God wills our salvation, our healing, here on earth. The Christian life is about participating in the salvation of God.”
God promises to make restitution for the catastrophe on their lives. And while the people were called to repentance, in Joel’s words we also see a penitent God, one who longs for redemption and reconciliation with the people of God’s heart. God yearns to repair that relationship, and promises abundance and satisfaction as God gathers them back to the table now overflowing with nourishment.
Mihee Kim-Kortnext >
God, thank you for the ways you desire reconciliation and relationship with me. Give me the courage to receive your love, and to trust and follow your promise of abundant life. Amen.next >
May you discard the worries of the past and all that would prevent you from the gracious beauty of the present moment.
May you relinquish the fears and anxieties of tomorrow and root yourself in the soil of the abundance here and now.
May you have the spirit and energy to strive for the Good in everything.
May gratitude and love overflow in your cup.
Go in peace and hope, with the joy that comes from a thankful heart towards God in Jesus Christ.
Mihee Kim-Kort is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is spouse to a Presbyterian minister, mother to three amazing children, director of a UKIRK campus ministry at Indiana University. She is also a freelance writer and author of numerous blogs, articles, and books. Her website is www.miheekimkort.com.
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