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Helping at Brattain Early Learning Center

We gave away produce from local farmers and read to the...

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Giving Thanks

Sermon  Nov. 22, 2015 Giving Thanks by Rev. June Fothergill     Scripture:    Philippians 4: 4-7; John 6:25-35 The local news station was interviewing an 80 year old lady because she had gotten married for the fourth time. The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80 and then about her husband’s occupation. “ He’s a funeral director,” she answered.   “ Interesting” the newsman thought, then he asked her if she wouldn’t mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living. She paused a few seconds needing time to reflect on all those years. After a short time a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her 20’s then a circus ringmaster when in her 40’s and a preached when in her 60’s and now in her 80’s a funeral director. The interviewer looked at her  , quite astonished an asked her why she had married four men with such diverse careers.  She smiled and explained,” I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go! “ And I give thanks for the great joke giver in the choir! Giving thanks seems to be the easiest of all spiritual disciplines.    If we pay attention we can find something to appreciate.  For the work of gratitude is not about our circumstances but our attitude.  I learn this over and over. Most recently I learned it at the Monday morning Bible study as I listened to  the people around the table talk about their gratitude to God for his love and care in their lives.  Later it struck me that everyone of them were unhoused or marginally housed.    And their witness to me that day was one of gratitude to God.   Yet,  I find that there are some interesting difficulties with this practice.  One is that Jesus doesn’t tell us to do it.   I found  nowhere in the gospels where Jesus directly instructs us to give thanks.  He didn’t thank his disciples or seem to expect thanks from those he healed. He seems surprised  when a Samaritan  comes back to thank him for his healing- a rare event.  Yet, he did model  giving thanks for us.  He  gave thanks to God  for  the gifts of bread and drink at the last supper and the food he multiplied to feed the crowds.    He gave thanks to God for raising Lazarus.     For Jesus the focus of thanks was to God and God’s abundance.   For  God’s  gifts of bread and...

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