Bishop Mark Lawrence: Thanksgiving—the Normal Christian Life

I believe Eugene Peterson’s translation of these verses deserve a joyous reading on Thanksgiving Day:

Oh, visit the earth, /ask her to join the dance!
Deck her out in spring showers, /fill the God-River with living water.
Paint the wheat fields golden. / Creation was made for this!
Drench the plowed fields, / soak the dirt clods
With rainfall as harrow and rake/ bring her to blossom and fruit.
Snow-crown the peaks with splendor, /scatter rose petals down your path,
All through the wild meadows, rose petals. / Set the hills to dancing,
Dress the canyon walls with live sheep, / a drape of flax across the valleys,
Let them shout, and shout, and shout! / Oh, oh, let them sing! (Ps. 65:9-13)

Here is a man gripped by God’s goodness and trustworthiness. Like Jesus, who spoke often of his Father’s goodness, and taught us to take a good look at the birds of the air and the little flowers in the fields, God’s goodness for this psalmist spills over into a life of gratitude. Fleming Rutledge puts it well, “The giving of thanks is not just an activity to be taken up at certain times and set aside at other times. It is a whole way of life.” One might even say it is The Normal Christian Life. Nevertheless, to set aside days when a people offer their Creator thanks is formational. From early on in our nation’s history it has been so. Our ancestors knew and practiced this even in days of scarcity. They learned it from the Holy Scriptures—both Testaments.

The Creator, who has filled the world with so much wonder and mystery, beauty and truth is—as Jesus revealed—our heavenly Father. He is no gloomy tyrant from whose grimy, stingy hands we have to wrench every meager gift. Yet, make the gifts of God our highest priority and moth will eat, rust will mar, thief will steal, and worry will whittle away. “But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness… and all these things…” the world’s, wonder, mystery, beauty and truth, as well as life’s gifts will be added to us in due time and right order. We don’t have to worry about missing out. There is enough—always has been enough—enough and to spare.

Read it all.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, * Theology

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