It is a truism that no man fully fathoms the depth of God’s love. Saintly folk do better than most, but on the whole human beings are a rather forgetful lot. Perhaps the real problem with the human condition involves a kind of forgetfulness or willful amnesia. What I mean is that we humans habitually forget about the great mercies that have been shown to us by God.
First, we are not very thankful about all that is beautiful in creation. Though our eyes remain open, they will not see the beauty of God’s handiwork in nature all around them. And there is no excuse for being blinded to this view in Western North Carolina. What a fabulous vista surrounds us on all sides here. We need to be thankful for this first evidence of God’s wisdom and skill that greets us each and every new day. Look out around and see the colors, shapes, sizes, textures, dimensions, relations, and movement. See the stable and seemingly unmoving creatures –the rocks, mountains, skies, and lakes. Perceive also the moving creatures –the birds and beasts. Breathe in the fresh air and thank God for it all!
Second, we are not much grateful for what is beautiful in the lives of other people. We forget to appreciate the occasional “please” or “thank-you.” We neglect to give thanks to small gestures of kindness or consideration. We ignore the positive acts of generosity and good will that are everywhere around us. If only we would have the eyes with which to see them! Or we judge others for their faults, while failing to praise their virtues. We search for the evil and forget to hope for the good. We need to be thankful for God’s spark in other people…even if they have not yet fully embraced him! What about that little old lady at Ingles who needs to work in old age because the greedy crooks in corporate America have stolen her pension savings? Notice how polite she is. Notice how considerate and kind she is. Think about what you or I might do to help her!
Third we forget to give thanks for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We forget his habitual giving and loving. We ignore the beautiful sacrifice that he made for us on the tree of Calvary. We refuse to ponder with delight his desire to make us a part of his Resurrectional life. We ignore his constant offer of friendship that comes to us perpetually through the descent of the Holy Spirit. We neglect gratitude to Him for coming to us in bread and wine as Body and Blood, as energy and power to ponder, wonder, study, explore, investigate, and to be thankful! He actually comes into us. He allows us to digest Him in our bodies and souls. He wants to move and define our thoughts, words, and works from the inside of our being! Are we thankful? If not, why not? If not, we might not make it to His kingdom! Let us be thankful beginning today.