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‘A great attitude starts with gratitude’

Thank you. Such a simple phrase. I don’t use it enough. How basic to acknowledge that another has done something, large or small, that has touched my life. Someone held a door open for me. Thank you. Someone picked up something I dropped. Thank you. Someone noticed something that I had forgotten and offered to help get it done. Thank you. Someone realized I am not good at something or that other priorities were demanding my time first, and they became a team to expand what we can do. Thank you.

Gratitude is not some daily exercise of polite society. Gratitude stems from the very seed of our theology. Gratitude in each moment is a direct reflection of a perspective on God. Is God present? Do you trust that to be true? Is God at work in the world? Is God able to be take any moment, whatever its cause, and use it? Even what we intend for evil, can God heal and bring good? Better check your Easter story if you answered “no.”

So then, in any given moment, whatever else we see, look for one single thing for which to give thanks. Name it, and be thankful. Try it with God right now. Try it with others throughout today. I bet we’ll find ourselves more blessed than we realized. It will change how we face each day and each other.

Fert Richardson, one of my seminary colleagues, was a massive former football linebacker. In our chapel service one day, he shared a prayer out of his African-American roots: I thank you, Lord, that when I woke up my feet were on the ground and not under it. I thank you, Lord, that my bed-sheet was not my winding-sheet. I thank you, Lord, that my resting bed was not my cooling board. I thank you Lord, that I draw my breath, just as you give your Spirit to me — freely. I thank you, Lord.

At Thanksgiving each year, my family would drive from Virginia to visit my dad’s parents who lived in Atlanta. I can still remember my dad’s dad, we would join hands and he would begin our prayer: “Father, I thank you for this good day….”

Happy Thanksgiving, neighbors. I thank God for you as I remember you in my prayers.

Rev. Michael Kendall is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church. His email address is mkendall@farmvilleumc.org.