Lent 6 – Thanks!

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1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.

~Psalm 34.1-4 (NRSV)

thanksA friend of mine has started on his blog a Lenten practice he is calling “40 Days of Lenten Thanks.” The morning psalm for today got me thinking about how easy it is for me to go through my day without giving thanks for the many blessings God provides for us. How often do I get caught up in the day-to-day without recognizing the little things that God invites me to appreciate.

Thanks to the wisdom and insights of a colleague a few years ago, I have been engaging off and on the practice of simply trying to be aware of God’s presence in any given moment. I regularly invite the congregation I serve to do the same. What I have realized in the seasons when I am more attentive is that, though I may run into some ugliness, my level anxiety and fear is so much less. It’s often the same recurring ugliness, but I am able to handle it and respond to it better at certain times than at others. More often than not, the times I am able to respond most faithfully and with the least amount of anxiety is when I have been in the practice of simply trying to be aware of God’s presence and active in finding ways to participate in what God is doing.

It is not an easy practice, and, as I said, my ability to fully engage it comes and goes with the seasons. In this season of Lent I am trying to become aware again (especially as I just rounded the corner of my first year with my current congregation). I think my friend’s practice of giving thanks may be a good place to start (thanks, Bruce!).

Thank you, God, for all the ways you reveal you reveal yourself,
     in both the spectacular and the mundane.
Thank you, God, for the amazing people who fill my life,
     and through whom you call me forward to a life of faith and fullness.
Thank you, God, for welcoming me into your love every day,
     even when I keep refusing you or ignoring you.
Thank you, God, for being present,
     and may I continue to grow in my awareness of you
     so I can invite others to do the same.

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