Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Being thankful

I'm reading Brian McLaren's new book, 'Naked Spirituality', which uses twelve words to describe twelve spiritual practices. Actually that's not quite true; he illustrates each of the spiritual practices with a few different words, starting with one and then using some more to illustrate the point. So the first chapter is about simply welcoming God to be with us where we are. McLaren starts with the word 'here', as in 'I am here'. He also uses 'now', 'you', 'who', 'we', 'open' and 'home' to unpack the idea of us being with God, wherever we are and whatever our state of mind.

It's the next word that's really got me excited today, though. That word is 'thanks'. Not that we should be thankful for everything (that would just be silly) but that we can be thankful in everything, as Paul wrote at the end of his first letter to the church in Thessalonica (1 Thess 5:18). McLaren also uses the word 'this' to convey the attitude of thankfulness:
This day. This kiss. This view. This meal, this taste, this breath, this moment, this song... instead of letting these treasures pass by as if they were nothing or as if we were unconscious of their beauty and wonder, we pause and savour them, and we lift our joy and appreciation up to God in gratitude.

I've been trying this out over the last couple of days and it's really refreshing. Hopefully I'll be able to stay with it for a while, stopping to notice good things and to thank God for them. It's so easy, isn't it, to just move on to the next task that needs doing, or to get distracted by the TV, internet, radio, or the book you're reading. But it's good to pause, even just for a short moment. It's helping me to stay conscious of God through more of the day and to keep a sense of inner balance when things don't go quite how I'd like.

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