Thursday, March 05, 2009
Yesterday's invitation was to gratitude, so I give thanks for a moment this afternoon to reflect. I am thankful for the folks who came out last night to talk about what it means to become part of a congregation and to take a step in that direction with respect to our little community.
Of course, that meeting was what got in the way of this spiritual "discipline" last night. Tonight, a parent-teacher conference will get in the way.
Real life tends to get in the way of spiritual practice, at least to the extent that we admit a distinction into our understanding.
We are talking this Lent at Clarendon about embodied faith, and we began the conversation reflecting that Jesus' Judaism did not include the mind/body, spirit/body dualism of the Greeks, and that, to the extent that Western Christianity adopted that dualism that denigrates the body in favor of the spirit it departs from its authentic roots.
So, the challenge of a spiritual practice of gratitude may lie simply in understanding how one could follow Paul's charge to "give thanks in all circumstances." In the midst of every moment -- the staff meeting you sat through today, the traffic on the way home, the hurried dinner plans, the homework, the bedtime, the sunrise wake up tomorrow -- in every moment give thanks.
I'm pretty sure I'm not up for that! On the other hand, Henri Nouwen once observed that gratitude is the fundamental attitude common to all authentic religious expression. So, if you want to get religion -- and, of course, who doesn't! -- give thanks.
Picture: gratitude in a bottle -- I'll drink to that!