WHOLE HEARTED THANKS GIVING
Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Psalm 111:1
What does giving thanks to God with a whole heart – in the company of the congregation look like?
I have experienced awe and reverence for God when I have been alone, with others, in study of scripture, in nature, in worship, in singing, in birth and death, in almost every aspect of life. This experience is filled with a sense of grace and gratitude. I feel inspired to offer praise to God and to share that praise with others. Yet, these experiences of awe and reverence don’t seem expansive enough when I think of giving thanks to God with my whole heart.
Whole hearted thanks giving feels more comprehensive, like every fiber of my being comes alive with a vibrant sense of Spirit which flows and overflows through me. I cannot contain this whole hearted thanks giving inside myself. This Spirit moves me to dance wildly and not care what others think. It overwhelms me with such vitality that I cannot contain my desire to share this energy with others – by inviting others to the dance, by welcoming others into this grace, by sharing my resources as liberally and freely as I am able. It is uncontainable joy which pulses through my body, my mind, my heart, my whole self and which can most fully be experienced and expressed with others in a community – of faith, of friends, of family.
Across the years, I’ve grown to realize that this kind of whole hearted thanks giving is not only a spontaneous, unexpected experience; it is also a practice – a spiritual discipline which I can access at any time, no matter what situation I am in. It is fairly easy for me to give thanks when times are good, when I’m on a walk in the woods, when I’m laughing in enjoyment with my family. It has been in the times of challenge or pain or frustration that I have had to practice reaching deep into my heart and soul and practice abiding in God’s eternal presence, in order to uncover a spacious internal capacity to discover the breadth and depth of joy and love and hope that is beyond my daily worries and worldly concerns and fears. This practice is strengthened when I have included others in this journey and practice. Others share my burdens and joys, as I share theirs, and together we discover the promised presence of Christ in our midst. We exuberantly overflow with whole hearted thanks giving.
Together, we enhearten one another and are inspired with whole hearted words and dances and actions of praise and thanks giving. What blessing! What joy!
Praise God! Together, we give whole hearted thanks to you, God of life. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.