People are funny, aren’t they?
A common activity this week is to consider and reflect on the things we’re thankful for. Sometimes we even do that prior to eating our turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. We go around the circle naming what we’re thankful for, sounding kind of like, “This year I am thankful for _____________”. A worthy endeavor in and of itself, this is. Naming what we’re thankful for is important as it increases our awareness that even in troubled times there are many things to be thankful for.[audio http://www.buzzsprout.com/33052/328395-what-are-you-thankful-for.mp3]
A worthy endeavor indeed but there should be a follow-on question asked. Maybe something along the lines of: “Because I am thankful I am going to _____________ .” It is one thing to be rightly thankful but it is another thing to sit on our gratitude as if being grateful were something static and passive. Gratitude is a noun but should be thought of as a verb; though please don’t use it as a verb in a sentence – the world does not need anymore ‘verbing’. If we are grateful people our gratitude should be self-evident to others in tangible ways.
Paul describes this in tonight’s reading with a list of things that in and amongst all this thankfulness really need a place in our hearts and in our minds. Forgive one another, love one another, let the peace of Christ rule our hearts, let the word of Christ guide us in teaching and admonishing, sing songs to God. And above all, do everything in the name of Christ.
Do everything in the name of Christ? Well then… isn’t that something?
Do everything in the name of Christ? What does that mean, exactly?
I suspect it means exactly what it says. And frankly, living my life in the name of Christ, actually living my life in the name of Christ makes me a little uncomfortable. Everything? Can’t I have a little wiggle room and do mostly everything in the name of Christ? Please?
Apparently not, according to Paul. He’s pretty clear about it when he says do everything in the name of Christ. It is how we’re to live our lives. And really, it isn’t all THAT difficult, is it? How hard is it to forgive and love other people, to let the peace of Christ rule our hearts?
What about our daily lives? It’s pretty straightforward to go to church and worship in the name of Christ. We pretty much say that straight up in our call to worship. We worship in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How does it look then if we go to work in the name of Christ? How does it look then if we go to school in the name of Christ? We should tell ourselves we’re going to the grocery store in the name of Christ. And we should get really carried away and say we’re going to the DMV in the name of Christ. If we do everything in the name of Christ, including going to the DMV, how does that change our lives?
It’s something to think about in our Thanksgiving activities, isn’t it? And it fits pretty well with the idea I mentioned earlier. Give thanks for what blesses us and then answer the question, “Because I’m grateful I’m going to… forgive others, love others, live with the peace of Christ in my heart and do everything in the name of Christ.
It’s a pretty good start, isn’t it?