One of the great American pastors without a church is Oprah Winfrey. I recall laying on my family room floor in front of the TV as an early adolescent learning from her how to be brave, healthy, and look good no matter your body type. Memorably, she is known for proclaiming the importance of keeping a gratitude journal.
Gratitude is something those of us who have a practice attending church know about. Worship invites us into gratitude each week and when you start listing all the things from a home, to the natural world, to money in the bank we are easily filled up with powerful sense of the goodness of life and of God.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
(Thank you Ginny Hunt for the quote by William Ward)
Those with a strong sense of gratitude find ways to not only wrap the present but give it as well.
The Grove, Levi’s Table, Lake Cook, - whatever you name it – has been a place that St James the Less has given gratitude-wrapped outreaching presence for many years.
The Grove is a place where people on the edge of society live. Only three miles from the parish, this is not like other nursing facilities where we visit friends or neighbors; this place is a home to people who will live out their days on Medicaid. Many are isolated with no family or relations who live in the area they now reside. Easily it could be a place to drive by unnoticed. In that way the Grove is the equivalent to the gate outside Jerusalem where the ill, poor, and destitute would beg during Jesus’ day. St. James the Less has been the hands and feet of Christ there throwing parties, leading worship, giving gifts, and visiting individuals.
With Deacon Ron’s departure and the loss of many Grove volunteers, our parish is now in a time of renewal or re-imagining our outreach to this nursing facility.
We have a chance to make a real difference in this one nursing facility and this small population's lives. There are many ways to organize an effort to care for the people who live there. It is a new day.
I invite you to join in a conversation on Saturday December 8th at St. James the Less 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
We will brainstorm, discern, and pray together about new ways to show our gratitude to God with the hurting world.
With you on the journey,