7 sentence weekday sermon

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day is good! And relatively easy.
 
For today, the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, functions as something of a test of the authenticity and endurance of our gratitude. As bargains and buying, sales and rewards endlessly cascade over us, the challenge is to remain humbly grateful and grow in our thankfulness. Will we refuse to become forgetful and indifferent?
 
As we buy, let us continue to recall the One who alone makes such possible for us, and thank him, asking wisdom of him even as we buy. May we be found to “overflow with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4.2)

links to 4+ helpful articles

1. When you’re grateful, your brain becomes more charitable [required reading]

“Practicing gratitude shifted the value of giving in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. It changed the exchange rate in the brain. Giving to charity became more valuable than receiving money yourself. After the brain calculates the exchange rate, you get paid in the neural currency of reward, the delivery of neurotransmitters that signal pleasure and goal attainment. So in terms of the brain’s reward response, it really can be true that giving is better than receiving.”

2. Early Benchmarks Show ‘Post-Millennials’ on Track to Be Most Diverse, Best-Educated Generation Yet

“A demographic portrait of today’s 6- to 21-year-olds.”

3. Giving Thanks for Difficult People

“Give thanks for the difficult people in your life. Then, identify what’s in the way of being fully present. Take the time to resolve it, so that you can bring your full humanity, and your full spiritual powers, to bear.”

4. Your Child and Facebook are Not a Good Match

“What is happening with those photos once they’re uploaded?”

5. A Fact-Checker’s Guide to Thanksgiving Politics

“With the holiday on the heels of the midterm elections, sitting out a political food fight may be unavoidable. But it doesn’t have to be inaccurate. Arm yourself with the facts.”

picture Bible commentary: pray/thankful

This time of year, late November, corresponds with the second line on this replica of the a found at Tel Gezer, Israel. This was a time of planting of grains in ancient Israel. The Gezer calendar dates from the time of the 10th century B.C.

 

IMG_6257aa

… you reap whatever you sow. … So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6.7,9)

quote: on gratitude & memory

To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives – the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections – that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.

Henri Nouwen