A Psalm of thanksgiving. 1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Living with a sense of gratitude is a real challenge these days. We are stuck in a pandemic, watching racial tensions escalate around the world, and feeling anxious about what to do. There is a collective sense that whatever comes next, the “new-new-new-normal” will look very different than the lives we inhabited just a few months ago. What an anxious time!
It seems that we can be grateful when everything is going well for us. But it would help us all to remember that gratitude and thankfulness are essential survival tools for times like these.
Our scriptures were written during times of trauma and upheaval, even those passages that beam with a sense of gratitude like today’s lesson from the Psalms. War, famine, systematic oppression, high infant mortality rates, poverty, and disability are just some of the issues the writers of our sacred texts confronted daily. Far from seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, these lessons of gratitude served as reminders that people are resilient.
We can all think back on difficult times like the loss of a job, relationship, or serious health challenge, and how awful that time was. But we got through it with the help of time, strong relationships, prayer, and healing. Sometimes there were lessons learned. Other times we merely survived. But we are still standing. Even survival is something that can provoke a sense of gratitude.
We cannot gloss over the troubles our world is facing with positive thinking. But we can draw on the fact that we’ve faced difficult times before and have come out on the other side, time after time. We do well to remember those times of resilience and the many people and places that helped us along the way.
Even now, we have many reasons to be grateful. Take a few minutes today or tomorrow and make a list of those things. "For the Lord is good. Our God’s steadfast love endures forever."