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Be Thankful? Be Grateful? Be Helpful!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, November 23, 2014

THANKS filled with both thanks and giving

Be Thankful? Be Grateful? Be Helpful!

Thanksgiving! Yes, that was the focus of the Sunday morning worship service at our church today.

Giving thanks was an important part of the service. For a scripture passage this morning, I used the readings for Thanksgiving, instead of this particular Sunday, Christ the King Sunday. Yes, it was the last Sunday of the liturgical year. True! However, I had a strong feeling to preach from the Thanksgiving Gospel reading today. From Luke 17, the narrative of the Ten Lepers.

Sure, this particular reading could be viewed from any one of a number of ways. However, I took the view of thankfulness. Ten lepers asked for pity. Mercy. Healing. And—only one returned to give thanks. (The ex-leper was even a Samaritan, not a Jew.)

Yes, I did bring up the other nine ex-lepers, briefly. But, I did not allow us to get bogged down in what might have been, or what flights of imagination easily could have come up with. It also might have devolved into, “Coulda, woulda, shoulda.” I did not want that to happen.

Instead, I discussed the one ex-leper who did come back. As soon as he noticed his healing, he came back to the Rabbi Jesus, like a shot. Thanked Jesus! Praised God! And—Jesus commended him, even though he was a Samaritan. (Gee, he must have been doubly marginalized, being a leper and a Samaritan.)

I lifted this thankful, grateful ex-leper up as an example for all those in the congregation. I asked, “What are you—any of you—thankful for? Grateful for? I gave a few examples from the church’s life, and then went out into the congregation. Asked for personal examples. Personal incidents. Testimonies! We certainly shared some significant situations today. We all saw how much God was continuing to bless, and give God’s gifts to one and all. We all saw how great God’s love is toward us.

So—are we thankful, today? How about grateful? God opens doors too numerous for me to even imagine. We can be grateful and thankful for so much. One last way? We can help each other, too. That can show others how much we feel, too. How about you?

@chaplaineliza

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