“Gratitude–The Heart of the Christian Life”

As pastor I’ve noticed that there are seasons of anxiety in the local church. For example, the season of Advent tends to be a stressful time. So, why such times of anxiety? It’s hard to say, of course, as the local church is a complex organism. But sometimes I wonder if our lack of gratitude plays a part.
I continue to read Don Postema’s book, “Space for God” on my “Sabbath” days, and I found this week’s readings exceedingly helpful, especially the following quote by Thomas Merton (from “Thoughts in Solitude”):
There is no neutrality between gratitude and ingratitude. Those who are not grateful soon begin to complain of everything. . . . . Gratitude, though, is more than a mental exercise, more than a formula of words. . . . . To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. . . . . Gratitude . . . Is the heart of the Christian life.”
I don’t know about you, but I needed to hear that! So this week I’ve been saying “thank you” to God more often. And you know, I feel more joy and peace.

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