As we prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Evergreen is focusing on gratitude this month in our corporate worship. One of the texts I used in last Sunday sermon was from the "Holiness Code" Leviticus 19:18 ~ "... you shall love your neighbor as yourself..."
In their book
Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is
, Sister Chittister and (former) Archbishop Rowan Williams talk about the exercise of faith as a form of gratitude. In this particular chapter, Chittister says, "We do not have the right to loose havoc on the rest of the world in the name of the God we have made in our own image. It is not getting the rest of the world to think and worship as we do that qualifies as real religion. It is giving ourselves for the welfare of the rest of the world to which we are called."
Her succinctness and singular focus startled me. It shouldn't, but it did, and I believe it is a quote that will stay with me. I think it also serves as an effective litmus test. As I engage in outreach, am I trying to mold someone into an image of me or a limited image of God, or am I working for the welfare of all that God has created?
So as we think about gratitude, thankfulness, and responding to God's love, it serves as a reminder that this includes loving others, and that this outward expression is also a form of thankful worship.
Rev. Jenni Bales
Director of Communications
Presbytery of San Jose