This coming Sunday, May 16, is Gratitude Sunday.
As part of our lead up to thinking about and praying over our commitments to our Capital Campaign, Hope Rising: Embracing Our Future at Fremont, we are going to talk about the spiritual practice of gratitude. Often, gratitude or thankfulness, is defined in passive terms. For example, someone does something kind for you, and as a response, you are grateful for that gesture. But, gratitude can also be understood in active terms. It can be something you demonstrate or show. You can practice gratitude.
This important point was recently shared with me, as all good wisdom is, through the power of a friend. This friend and I meet monthly in the early morning to walk. Our walks (with face masks on) have been a lifeline to me in these socially isolating months of COVID. On one particular walk, I was sharing with her a sense of prolonged sadness that I was feeling over all that we have lost. She asked me if I had read the poet Ross Gay’s recent book, The Book of Delights. I had not. The next day, she delivered the book to my front door.
The premise of the book is simple. Gay explains that he endeavored to daily write essayettes about “delight.” In the end, he discovered that the more he wrote about delight, the more he experienced delight. In his words, “It didn’t take me long to learn that the discipline or practice of writing these essays occasioned a kind of delight radar…Which is to say, I felt my life to be more full of delight. Not without sorrow or fear or pain or loss. But more full of delight. I also learned this year that my delight grows–much like love and joy–when I share it.” Remarkable.
So, I began my own “book of delights.” I decided that every time I read one of Gay’s essays on delight, I would recall in my own journal all the things from the past day that had been good and wonderful in my life. I made a list, and do you know what? It worked! The more I focused on the good, the more delight and gratitude I felt. It was that easy.
Gratitude is an important part of our life with God. Namely, all that we are and all that we have are gifts from God. How we recognize that abundance and what we do with that abundance are important parts of our lives as disciples. So, in preparation for this coming Sunday, I am asking you to take a moment to reflect and come prepared to share with others your answer to this question, “What are you grateful for at Fremont?”
I can’t wait to see our gratitude grow and spill over into abundant joy.
Grace and peace,