Gratitude is the cornerstone of our Faith. From the earliest records in Genesis, through the sacrifices in the First and Second Temple, to Jesus sitting at table with his friends, and every service of Eucharist since (Eucharist literally means thanksgiving in Greek), we, as people of faith, have said “Thank you” to God.
In this era of overabundance to the point of waste, it is truly difficult to remember that all things come from God and all things are returning to God. The air we breathe, the music we hear, the food we eat, the sound of baby giggles, all of it is a gift from God that we did not ask for, do not deserve, and could never earn. These words often come with a negative context but I want you to hear them with a different tone. It’s not that we’re so bad that we cannot attain to them, it is that these gift are so wonderful there is no possibility to attain to them. God freely showers us with every “good and perfect gift (James)”. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is there in (Psalm 24)”. God gives and we receive. Once we have received, we must decide how to respond to that gift.
As faithful children, followers of Jesus, we offer back to God from those gifts. Our response is to return to the giver. Like children showing a loving parent their latest masterpiece using the new crayons that parent has just gifted the child, we offer back to God some of the myriad gifts: bread and wine, money, our time, even the thoughts of our hearts. God gives. We return with thanksgiving for the overflowing measure of God’s love. As the old song says, “Give thanks with a grateful heart.”