The following resource “Practicing Gratitude,” I’ve adapted from Fuller Seminary’s “Fuller Formation” resources. I was blessed to be part of a Fuller Formation group of pastors and leaders several years ago, and I want to share some of these resources with you. You can go online to formation.fuller.edu and discover more there. Over this next week, I encourage you to engage in the resources below on “Practicing Gratitude.”
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – I Thessalonians 5:16-18
ON GRATITUDE | Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
“Gratitude is more than a mental exercise, more than a formula of words. We cannot be satisfied to make a mental note of things which God has done for us and then perfunctorily thank Him for favors received.
To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us—and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is grace, for it brings with us immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder, and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference… Gratitude is therefore the heart of the Christian life.”
Reflection (~25 min.)
We invite you to write a journal entry of up to a page responding to what you have read. You may want to consider the following question as a starting point for your reflection:
Is gratitude the heart of the Christian life as he asserts? Why or why not?
Originally uploaded by Louie Schwartzberg October 14, 2011 This inspirational video has been well received at TED conferences. Filmmaker Schwartzberg motivates those around him as happiness is revealed. Spoken word and music montage created and composed by Gary Malkin. Narration written and spoken by Brother David Steindl-Rast, Moving Art.
Reflection (~25 min.)
Write a one-paragraph journal entry reflecting on what this video brings to mind for you. The questions below may help in your processing.
- What resonated with, challenged, or encouraged you in this video?
- Why do you think this spoke to you? With what from your life does this connect?
- What is God’s invitation for you here?
We invite you to decide on your next step in the cultivation of gratitude. We’ve offered three suggestions of practices below: choose the one that will work best for you. (~5 min. a day)
- Every night for 7 days, write 10 things you were grateful for from your experiences that day.
- Write a new, original thing you are thankful for every evening for 7 days. What patterns emerge?
- Create a scrapbook, poem, story, or song that describes things that you are grateful for in life. Pray through it each day for the next week, or throughout Lent.