12 Oct Weekly Reflection from Pastor Janine
Beloved of God,
In a world that seems to feed on the negative, on dissatisfaction, on humanity’s shortcomings, I keep reminding myself that I am happiest, most at peace, when I am grateful for this gift of life I’ve been given. This week I’ve been reflecting on a passage from Philippians 4. Here are the opening and closing verses to the passage I’ve been reading. ” Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” … “I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Rejoice is another way of saying give thanks, live gratefully. Paul doesn’t say give thanks when we feel like it… when we’ve had a good day … when the stars are aligned … when our team wins or when we feel healthy or any other “when” you could name. We are to rejoice because we have been given the gift of life in Christ. This is a gift that doesn’t depend on how good or bad the state of the world is or how good or bad our personal circumstances are. It does depend on our willingness to pay attention to life in all of its surprises and unfolding mystery, to be “lost in wonder, love and praise” as one of our hymns suggests.
Responding out of gratitude for life itself places me in a never ending flow of giving and receiving. Because I open myself to receiving the amazing possibilities life offers daily, my response is to offer all that I am as gift in return. This is not a quid per quo– a giving so that I get back. It’s more like placing myself in God’s river of flowing love that I become part of as it flows and gathers up others. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too “wuwu” or “loosy goosy” as my mom would say. . I only know that wholehearted gratitude leads to more joy which leads to more gratitude. And I am grateful for what Christ is doing through our church–the lives touched, the friendships made, the joys and sorrows shared, the belly’s filled, the hope given. This is the gratitude Paul talks about, knowing that through Christ in us God’s kingdom comes.
May the shalom of Christ fill you to overflowing.