Psalm 100 (The Message)
A Thanksgiving Psalm
1-2 On your feet now—applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.
3 Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.
4 Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
5 For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.
This past Sunday at Queen Anne Christian Church, we celebrated in song, word, prayer Thanksgiving. We also decorated the church for Advent, which starts next Sunday. And we have a new and tasty tradition at Queen Anne; the kids decorate gingerbread houses, while the parents enviously look on. Cherry S is a baker first class and she makes the gingerbread, puts together the houses, parents bring the candy for decorating and then we turn our budding artists loose. I must say they have a great time and the houses look wonderful.
As I sat and watched the kids, took video and a few pictures I couldn’t help but think about the worship service. The Scripture was Psalm 100 and Pastor Laurie’s reading from The Message gave me much to think about. First of all Psalm 100 was my father’s favorite and it was read, from the King James Version (KJV), at the beginning of every Thanksgiving meal in our house. But when I heard Pastor Laurie’s reading I was struck by the joy and celebration that resides in this Psalm that I hadn’t heard before. I felt the celebration inherent in this Psalm. However the words in Verse 4 jolted me upright. “4 Enter with the password: “Thank You!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise, Thank him. Worship him.” I thought what you have to have a password to enter G-ds presence, is not my gratitude and thanks enough, now I have to know a password. Well it is a simple password, and one I learned to use when I was a child. Still I have to say “thank you” to enter into G-d’s home! Why would G-d want my gratitude?
What does it mean to acknowledge your gratitude, out loud, and/or in writing? Well the expression is a witnessed event; people hear or read of your gratitude. They learn you are capable of good will by acknowledging the works of others. They in turn are blessed with your gratitude and that encourages them to also wish to express their thanks for their blessings. One person expresses thanksgiving for a small act of kindness, and the recipient, or someone who observes it is then empowered to offer their thanks to someone else and the boundary of the circle of kindness extends into infinity.
You might think saying thank you for a job well done, or a gift, does little to help you or anyone else, but you’d be wrong. Remembering your blessings grows an “attitude of gratitude” within all that you do throughout your life. In the late 1940’s Bing Crosby sang a simple song in the move “White Christmas,” Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep, and for many years it was a popular tune. The premise is an easy one to remember, counting your blessings is more productive than counting all the wrongs you’ve received. In fact once you begin counting you discover that the hurts and wrongs far fewer than blessings.
For me I have all too often let anger and resentment cloud my vision preventing me from counting my blessings and that has resulted in some very unpleasant times in my life. One of the spiritual practices I have been doing on my life journey is to change that pattern of behavior. Now every morning I offer a gratitude to the Divine Spirit before I even get out of bed to start my busy day. And every evening I end my day with a review of the blessings I received during the day. It has made my life much more joyful and I am now more likely to see the face of the Divine in all that I do. So I have two questions for you to ponder this week:
1. What gets in your way of expressing gratitude? And . . .
2. Have you counted your blessings lately?
It is a joyful practice to count your blessings and say thank you. It is not really a password; it’s a way of life, to live in gratitude for the blessings we receive day in and day out, offering our lives as a blessing to those around us. Can you imagine the kind of world we’d live if everyone just counted their blessings?
So my gratitude for this Tuesday Morning is that I am grateful for the ability to write to each of you, I am grateful for the blessings I’ve received from my loving husband and family. I am grateful for the comforting presence of my companion animals, the fur kids Fred and Suzie, and the feathered kids Cuddles and George. And I am simply grateful for my life, for being alive today, at this moment. May all of you remember all of your blessings this week.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Ruth Jewell, ©November 25, 2013