The Gospel lesson that we used at the nursing home yesterday was the healing of the ten lepers in Luke 17. One of the struggles that many of us have in our culture is with the temptation to take things for granted. We have been taught that we are entitled. Some of that isn't bad - the inalienable rights of the Declaration of Independence and those in the Constitutions Bill of Rights - but one of casualties of entitlement is thanks giving. We take things for granted and not for blessing.
At the center of our liturgical tradition is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist - the Holy Thanksgiving. Even if we don't believe in the Real Presence, the weekly celebrations can help us to practice giving thanks. Frequently as I preside at celebrations, I find that specific blessings for which I am thankful come to mind. Frequently, but probably not often enough. I need to cultivate the habit of thanksgiving for specific blessings. Just as my intercessions and petitions need to be specific, so do my thanksgivings.
So here are a few for today:
- For Jan whom I met in church in 1971 and who became my wife in that same church in 1972.
- For our children, Meghan and Matthew, and for their spouses, Daryl and Marnie.
- For our grandaughter, Emmaline.
- For the privilege - and it is a privilege - of serving in the Episcopal Church for nearly 40 years.
- For the people of Saint Matthias Church who have ministered with and to me for the past 8 years.