Gratitude
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Communion Meditations (2013)

Gratitude

Originally scheduled for May 5

“Much obliged.”

It’s a simple acknowledgment that someone has just done you a good turn.  We are content to state the fact, though most of us would prefer being the person doing the favor rather than receiving it.  In particular, it can be quite grating when the person who did the favor for us reminds us of it frequently.  We really don’t like to have the fact brought up and repeated constantly.

Why is this? There are a number of reasons.  Most of us are taught that adults ought to be able to stand on their own two feet.  We feel we should be self-sufficient.  In many things this is true; we are taught, for example, that we ought to earn our own living so that we might share with others.  This, of course, implies that there are others who need the sharing, however.  Sometimes the “others” really are us.  It’s a matter of pride, really.

There are, however, instances where our aversion to “much obliged” more or less disappears.  Take, for example, your parents.  Most of us realize we couldn’t possible repay our parents for all the effort, money and especially patience they put into us.  There just isn’t a way to do that, and we know that we must recognize that fact.  But if you can’t repay them, you can at least pass on the favor.  Those parents are very pleased when you treat their grandchildren well.

The ultimate example of this is Christ.  Not one of us has the slightest possibility of repaying Jesus for what He did on the Cross; it is simply beyond the realm of human effort.  It is equally true that he does not expect you to pay him back.  But he does ask that you remember what He did – which rather sounds like that fellow who keeps reminding us that we owe him a favor.  But Christ never  asked that you repay his love for you; rather, like your parents, he asks that you pass it on.  Take the great love He showed you on the Cross and let it move you to “do unto others…”  That most particularly includes sharing the Gospel with them.

Gratitude should be a gracious form of thankfulness.  Christ, knowing our failings and needs, has given us a way to be grateful without being resentful of it.  He asks simply that we, in solemn ceremony, remember the way in which He gave us the most important gift ever given:  salvation.  By the bread and the cup we remember the price he paid on Calvary.

But do not stop there.  Let your gratitude overflow by passing on his great love for you.  When you leave this place, remember that Christ died for all – and those who are grateful for it will pass the Good News on to the others they meet.

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