“We build on foundations we did not lay.
We warm ourselves at fires we did not light.
We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.
We drink from wells we did not dig.
We profit from persons we did not know.
We are ever bound in community."

Rev. Peter Raible (paraphrased from Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 4 of Spiritual Practices and Reflection: Giving Thanks

The Mission Statement of First Universalist Church is:

In the Universalist Spirit of love and hope, we give, receive, and grow.

I've blogged about the "Give" part of this Mission Statement before (here: "The Best Gift Ever?") It's a deceptively simple Mission Statement, and the "Give" part especially. As a faith community, we're being called to give our attention, to pay attention, in new and different ways. Giving our full attention, to ourselves, to others, to the Spirit of Life/the Holy, opens us up, changes us, and allows us to get clear about what matters and what other gifts we might have to give the world. 

Paying attention (giving our attention) can allow us to see our lives differently, to notice and give thanks for the gifts, people, and experiences that fill our lives....all of which can be invisible unless we're paying attention.

So today's reflection question is this: "What have you noticed in the past 24 hours that you are thankful for, that you don't want to forget?  What blessing or moment of grace landed in your life yesterday? What experience, or conversation, out of the hundreds you had yesterday, stands out to you? What happened in the past 24 hours that you are deeply thankful for? And how might you express that gratitude? Is there someone to call? A note to write? A journal entry to make? A way you can pay this gratitude forward?"

As I look back over the past 24 hours of my life, my heart opens in gratitude for the time yesterday the church Management Team spent reflection on the question, "What is saving your life right now?" Our emerging practice, as a Management Team, is to spend the first part of our meeting doing some kind of spiritual reflection/spiritual direction work together, before we dig into our "work" agenda. I was deeply moved by the depth of what was shared yesterday. Thank you, management team. 

Poem In Thanks

Lord Whoever, thank you for this air
I'm about to in- and exhale, this hutch
in the woods, the wood for fire,
the light - both lamp and the natural stuff
of leaf - back, fern and wing,
For the Piano, the shovel
for ashes, the moth-gnawed
blankets, the stone-cold water
stone cold: thank you.
Thank you, Lord, coming for
to carry me here -- where I'll gnash
it out, Lord, where I'll calm 
and work, Lord, thank you
for the goddamn birds singing!

-Thomas Lux

If you're a new reader of this blog, and in the Twin Cities, you're welcome to come worship with us on Sundays, at 9:30 and 11:15, as we continue our "Living Resolutions" sermon series. More information here.

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