Pastor Mark’s eNote – There Remains a Gratitude
There Remains a Gratitude
Standing here holding this wonderful award that is today, I wish to thank my mother who loved me as only a mother can; my father, whom I called Daddy, for wisdom and words; my sons, who call me Dad, for calling me Dad; teachers through the years, official and unofficial, who have challenged and encouraged me; my dog for being so graciously a dog; my friends for accepting me; my wife for loving me through it all and managing so beautifully my world; and you for being the church. Thank you.
But even as the little warning light flashes, and the orchestra strikes up, I know I haven’t said enough. Something still remains, somewhere between my heart and throat, too ethereal to speak, too obvious to ignore. When I have thanked everyone there is to thank, there remains a gratitude beneath it all, embracing it all, that can only be directed toward God, from whom all blessings flow.
Try it yourself. List all the stuff and people and moments you can. Name all the folks who have cared for you, who have guided or forgiven you or shared with you some stupid joke just to make you smile. Think back on accomplishments and, yes, failures, and remember that neither can fully define you. Name names; tell stories; count heads; take stock. Then say thanks.
And there’s still something there, isn’t there? You haven’t covered it all. Beneath and around all the gifts of life is the gift of life—this moment, this breath—the mystery of consciousness, the miracle of being. There remains a gratitude we can never fully express, and that gratitude brings us to church. Week after week, we express a little more of it. We keep trying, only to find, to our joy, that the mystery has grown richer, too great to speak, too obvious to ignore. And so we give thanks. What else can we do?
This Sunday we step out of the official week of giving thanks and into a new Christian season and year. We begin again the great story of how God so loved the world, the story of the Incarnation, of God with us, of Jesus, Savior, Lord. In the newness and familiarity of it all the mystery and power of God’s love and grace will amaze us once again. And we will do what we can with it all. We will give thanks one more time.
Rev. Mark Westmoreland