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Happy Thanksgiving!!! It seemed fitting to focus on the spiritual practice of Gratitude. Yes, Gratitude is a spiritual practice. It seemed strange to me until I did some reading about it. We often hear things like “Gratitude is an Attitude” or “Before going to bed, write down 3 things (or more) that you are grateful for.” 

The definition I’m working with is:
        “Gratitude is our loving and thankful response towards God
        for his presence in our lives, no matter what the circumstances
        are. We also express gratitude for God’s goodness, love, provision
        and grace. All of these characteristics are modeled for us by Jesus Christ.”

Gratitude is the foundation for all the other spiritual practices. We need a proper understanding of what Gratitude is and is not, and what Scripture teaches us. The next step is to learn how Gratitude is foundational to our faith lives.

Gratitude, like all the other faith practices, needs repeatition. It is as we practice different ways of Gratitude, our faith roots go deeper and we become more and more like Jesus. Jesus models what Gratitude looks like.

This focus of this week is to spend time with God reflecting on these passages. It is helpful for our own faith growth to linger at each passage and reflection question. These passages and reflection questions is found in the book Faith Practices put out by the CRCNA Faith Formation Ministry.

Journaling might be helpful in reflection. Or perhaps you doodle. One final suggestions is for  you to share what you’ve learned, the questions you have etc. with at least one other person.




Psalm 100: A song of thanksgiving

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Consider the following questions:

•    Did anything make you want to “shout for joy” this week? What was it, and how did you express gratitude to God?
•    What does it mean to you to be one of the “sheep of [God’s] pasture”?
•    How has God shown faithfulness to your family “through all generations”?


Luke 17:11-19: The healing of ten lepers

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Consider the following questions:
•    Why do you think the “other nine” didn’t express gratitude to Jesus for their healing? What might their reasons have been?
•    Do you recognize yourself in this story? Where?
•    How have you experienced healing in your life, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual? How did you, or how might you, express your gratitude to God?


Luke 7:36-38: Lavish gratitude

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.


Consider the following questions:

  • If you can’t remember a time when you didn’t believe in God, it might be difficult to feel intense gratitude for what Jesus has done for you. Read this story of self-sacrifice on the part of four people who gave their lives for others. Think about what it means that Jesus gave his life, dying a painful and shameful death, for you.
    •    This passage is full of vivid sensory images: The wetness of tears. The woman using her own hair to dry Jesus’ feet after she wept on them. An entire bottle of perfume poured out as an offering of gratitude. Open a bottle of perfume or essential oil or burn a scented candle as you read the entire story in verses 36-50 slowly, imagining that you were there in the room. What do you see, hear, smell, feel?
    •    What act of gratitude might you be long overdue in carrying out?


Colossians 3:15-17: Freely flowing gratitude

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Consider the following questions:

•    “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” Peace promotes gratitude; anxiety rarely does. How might you invite the peace of Christ into your heart more fully, in order that gratitude may flow more freely?
•    “Do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Think of the things you do in a normal day or week. How might each of those things become an act of gratitude? For ideas, check out the book Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey, which provides simple litanies for a variety of daily activities, such as preparing meals, changing diapers, listening to music, and more. Or write your own litanies of thanks for the things you do each day.

•    If there are kids in your home, or even if there aren’t, write down the letters of the alphabet and try to think of things you’re grateful for that start with each of those letters.