Worship Materials: Thankfulness and Rejoicing

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

THEME             Touching the Essential

 

THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION

  1. The unthankful get the misery which they have brought upon themselves
  2. Nothing liberates the human mind as much as a thankful spirit.
  3. To survey ones past and to see nothing one can be thankful for is a sure sign that ones vision has been blighted by preoccupation with past hurts.
  4. It costs nothing to be thankful but the rewards are priceless.
  5. To be thankful even in the midst of disaster is a clear indication that one is in touch with ones peaceful centre.
  6. Our unwillingness to forgive constitutes a real obstacle to recalling people and events for which we could be really thankful.
  7. Vast monetary riches and great vocational achievements do not necessarily produce thankfulness unless one has learnt to be  thankful for small mercies.
  8. Being thankful for what one has is a sure antidote for envy
  9. If one has attended worship and comes away feeling miserable and unthankful then there must be something wrong with the worship or with oneself or with both!
  10. A thankful mind can be cultivated by anyone who is not clinically depressed.
  11. One of the best ways to prepare for the rigors of the day is to spend some time thinking of all the things for which one should be thankful.
  12. Giving thanks for divine intervention can appear to produce confusing results since the processes of the Cosmos are not tied to the needs of human beings and can produce tragedy as well as great benefits.
  13. Thanking others follows the rule “As you give so you will receive.” (Luke 6/38)
  14. The heart that is full of worry has no room for thankfulness.
  15. Hope and thankfulness are partners who mutually support each other

PRAYERS Adapted from “Sacred Energy / Mass of the Universe”

  1. Glory and thanks to you, O God;
    In the midst of suffering and death
    We find hope,
    Through the gift of new life we share your wholeness
    And beyond all our endings we encounter
    The mystery of your love.
  1. To you creative and empowering God
    Be all thanksgiving and praise,
    Here and everywhere,
    Now and forever, Amen.
  1. May we be filled with thankfulness, O God,
    All the days of our life.

 

HYMNS

Thank you, thank you, thank you God. (BL)

Not every day. (BL)

This Earth is full of beauty. (BL)

The darkness and the light. (BL)

Congregational Alleluias. (BL)

Charge our hearts with wonder. (BL)

The Cosmos in all its wonder. (BL)

At each journey’s ending point. (BL)

My spirit shall rejoice. (BL)

In the darkness of my spirit. (BL)

To God the process. (BL)

How liberated are those. (Paraphrases of the Beatitudes).(BL)

 

There shall be life and love.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

All will be well.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

Give me laughter.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

God gives the song.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

 

Come join the cosmic family. (STS1)

We will celebrate with praises. (STS1)

Give joyful praise and honor. (STS1)

O God of Earth and God of Sky. (STS1)

The way of life. (STS1)

As we give we shall receive. (STS1)

Singing the Sacred Vol 1 2011 World Library Publications

 

GRACES

We give thanks for the plants.(Ecological Grace) (BL)

We eat and drink. (BL)

May the food that we eat. (BL)

 

REFLECTIONS

THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF THANKFULNESS

In this particular church the congregation was encouraged each Sunday to share significant events that had happened to them during the week. One man told the following story. “When I got home from church last Sunday my wife asked me what we did during the service. I replied that we turned to our neighbours and said ‘I see Christ in you’. My wife’s response was ‘that’s an odd thing to do’ to which I replied ‘no it isn’t. I see Christ in you!’

‘Well that’s even more odd she replied’ so I proceeded to share with her all the good qualities which I saw in her”

What a transforming action that would be if it occurred in all of the churchgoers’ homes every Sunday!

 

 

AFFIRMATION OF AWARENESS FROM THANKFUL HEARTS

In the white light

we glimpse the colors of the rainbow –

In the darkness

we see the hues of our spirit ‑

In our encounter with emptiness

we discover the patterned fullness of the vast inner and outer world –

In the intermingling of tears of sorrow and joy we find wholeness of life-

In entering the sorrows of another

we find healing for our own grief –

For the totality of compassion

is immeasurably greater

than the sum of all destructive suffering ‑

In stepping aside from the self that we can see

we discover the unseen self,

the spark that links us with all other sparks of that divinity

which sets the world alight.

And in allowing ourselves to be embraced by the mystery we discover our heart’s delight.

 

THE DEPTHS OF THANKFULNESS

It does not require much spiritually to be thankful when all is going well but to be thankful in the midst of tragedy is the mark of a deep faith that in the end all will be well. This was the depth of faith that Jillian of Norwich had when at the height of the ravages of the Black Plague in England she proclaimed “All will be well and all manner of thing(s) will be well”. This is not only a belief that things will be well in the future but an affirmation that despite all appearances to the contrary at the very deepest level all is well with the Cosmos.

 

THE CENTRALITY OF THANKFULNESS

The Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart said ‘if the only prayer you say in your (entire) life is “thank you” that would suffice’; such is the central significance of thankfulness. To make sense of this in modern scientific terms we need to refer to the fact that neuroscience, quantum biology and quantum physics are now beginning to assert that we are more than a bundle of chemical and neurological interactions. We are what can be described as a force field. Indeed quantum physics asserts that this invisible energy realm is the ‘primary governing force of the material realm … in a universe made out of energy, everything is entangled, everything is one’ (The Role of Spirituality by Bruce Lipton in the Forum on Science and Spirituality website). As a consequence of all this it is clear that how we think of others has an enormous effect both on our own psychological well-being and that of others. We no longer need to perceive our self as a victim of our negative experiences of the past but can choose to focus upon the positive things that have happened to us or even to create wonderful, imaginary scenarios. Thankfulness of our actual or reinvented past and our enfolding and thankfulness of all those people who made up our past can be a life transforming activity.

 

 

FOCUS FOR ACTION

  1. To begin and end the day with a period of reflection in which we recall all those people and events for which we can be thankful can greatly improve our own mental health and help create a field of positive energy which will be attractive and healing for other people. It can also help give our house a ‘positive aura’.
  2. To bring an attitude of thankfulness to a meeting or other group gathering can be a force for change within that group.
  3. Could our Services of Worship include more time for people to silently      or overtly express thoughts of thankfulness?
  4. To say ‘thank you’ to the eco-system as a whole or to a particular part of it can help us to rediscover our interdependence with the eco-system and our need to treat it as a partner rather than something that is there for our convenience and consequently should be exploited.
  5. Thankfulness for what we have can help us to resist the temptation to acquire or consume more and more. So to practise thankfulness can contribute to the mind-shift that is necessary if we are to combat the misconception that the success of a country depends upon its increasing growth in consumption.

 

Celebrating Mystery Logo

LOGO NOTE: At the heart of the mystery all the separate boxes disappear and all is one, all is love.

Text and graphic © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

 

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