Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
That is why I, having once heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and your love for all God's holy people, have never failed to thank God for you and to remember you in my prayers.
Too often, prayer for all those I serve is missing. As a result, I miss the fullness of gratitude and joy that is God’s hunger for every heart.
Lacking gratitude, I miss the power needed to live with anticipation, descending instead to the land of disappointment and petty aggrievement. Not today.
Today, I begin by lining up the faces that I saw at worship on Sunday. I go through them as best I can, too many to remember, but I remember some.
I think, too, of those whose faces I haven’t seen for a long time, those whom I hunger to have back in the assembly of hope that draws me back each Sunday to hear and claim a word of grace.
And I say two words, which are the only words necessary for prayer, “thank you.”
Thank you for the privilege of doing this work. Thank you for the privilege of bowing at the altar, of steering tennis-shoe clad acolytes through the service and joking with nervous assisting ministers on the leader’s bench. Thank you for the joy of singing.
Thank you for letting me stand at the head of a line of the needy with a loaf of bread in my hands and being able to give as you give, to love as you love, to share as you share, to bless their children, look into their eyes and feel their gratitude for receiving a gift that reawakens their faith that your love has not and will never lose them.
Thank you for each of them--the knowing and the unconscious, those just going through the motions and those who receive the bread and a hearty ‘amen,’ or a relieved ‘thanks be to God.’
Thanks for the ones that I don’t think like me much and those who hang on every word I speak. Thank you for the petty and the generous, the half-committed and those who can’t wait to get to their cars and flee the lot.
Thank you for each life, the breath they breathe and for their presence in my life. Thank you for what they might become if they truly knew you. Thank you for the love I know from and in them, the love I see in them for their children, their families and friends. Thanks for letting me see and hear the places where that love spills beyond their narrow circle of care to others. Thank you for their decency and the desire you have put in them to be the gracious souls you would have become.
Thank you for the sins and failures and wounds that awaken them to the love you are and always will be. Thank you for all of them, whether they be pleasant or a great challenge for me to like and love them.
Thank you for each of them and the community I am privileged to lead and serve.
My morning prayer of thanks now given I go to my day, not defeated or afraid, not dreading routine duties that pile up.
I come with joy and gratitude, knowing I am part of something wondrous and beautiful, a beauty I just may see once more so long as prayer keeps my eyes open to what is before me on every hand.
Pr. David L. Miller