I will give thanks to God with my whole heart; I will tell of your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1)
Spirituality is connected with wonder and gratitude. Wholehearted thanks awakens our sense of the wondrous interdependence of life – the heavens above, the ecosystems surrounding us, the beauty of the human and non-human world, the intricacy of our cells and the holiness of our souls.
Gratitude connects us with our human and non-human siblings. It is a constant affirmation that we are not self-sufficient and that is the glory of life. We depend on one another for life, learning, support, and health; and conversely we are essential to the wellbeing of others, even sheltering in place or reducing our travel due to the pandemic.
Thanksgiving expands our hearts and minds, and widens our worlds. We can survey the universe from our apartment building, we can rejoice in others’ wellbeing from our backyard, we can be amazed at life from our living rooms. The pandemic is real, but it is not the only reality. Life in its wonder will outlast this threat and life in its beauty will enable us to rise above our fears, practicing safe habits, and also rejoicing in the goodness and power of Life itself.
Gratitude is also ethical. As we give thanks for our blessings, our calling is to spread these blessings to others. Our calling is to challenge every barrier to full humanity for all people – to seek justice and peace for all people. Our gratitude leads us to support the least of these – and these most especially those who grieve the death of George Floyd and all who have been the victim of injustice. Let us out of gratitude create a world of liberty and justice – of beauty and possibility – for all people regardless of race, age, sexuality, and nation of origin.
Help me, O God, to give thanks with my whole heart. Let me rejoice in the new day. New possibilities. New wonders. Embedded in life’s challenges, let me rise above in thanksgiving and generosity. Amen.
Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod pastor, professor, and author of over 50 books including FAITH IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC and GOD ONLINE: A MYSTIC’S GUIDE TO THE INTERNET