Today’s Word: ‘Grateful’ as in… don’t wait for death to express it.
I’ve officiating at a number of memorial services lately. Each time the sanctuary became a kind of “living room” into which people brought their grief and sadness, their pain and loss, and their honest questions about life and death rooted in various layers of belief and disbelief and mingled with all manner of doubt and assurance. Death always stirs up holy ground.
But in each of these experiences there’s been a golden thread that was somehow able to weave through an entire community of broken-hearted people, gather them together and carry them along. That golden thread is gratitude.
We’ve thought a lot about gratitude in the “Today’s Word” series; but you can never have too much gratitude, right? When my dad died in 2016 I received a hand-written note from someone who encouraged me to “Let the remarkable memories of your dad fill you with gratitude, and let that be part of your healing.” Recalling countless moments of life with my dad with gratitude has been profoundly healing.
At a recent memorial service I reminded a sanctuary full of family and friends that their loved one, in life, knew the power of gratitude for family, friends, and faith. I went on to remind them that their loved one, in death, was reminding us of the power of gratitude to God for providing the gift of life itself. To sit for a few intentional moments and express gratitude for the good news that Christ walks deeply into our grief and sadness, our pain and loss, and meets us in our honest questions about life and death which seem always to be rooted in various layers of belief and disbelief and mingled with all manner of doubt and assurance is always the gift.
I’m convinced that we will experience a deeper thriving when, instead of waiting for someone’s death, we breathe the oxygen of the Spirit of life into one another by expressing gratitude.
I’m so thankful for you today.