Dear Hyde Park Family,
This Sunday we begin a new worship series titled “Living with Gratitude.” It is a continuation of the leadership theme with which we started the year, based on Diana Butler Bass’ book Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks.
Each week, we will explore a different aspect of gratitude, encouraging us to make it a way of life and a central aspect to our faith. So, as we enter this new series, here are two specific, practical aspects of gratitude you can begin practicing each day:
- Be as Specific as You Can.
There have been seasons of my life when I have maintained a gratitude journal, in which I intentionally write down two or three things I am grateful for every day.
The best advice I have ever received about keeping a gratitude journal is “the more specific, the better.” It is easier (and important) to be grateful for broad, general things, like your family, your health, your job, and other basic necessities. But research has shown that the more details you can give about specific experiences of gratitude, the more aware you will be of such blessings in the future.
For example, in my own gratitude journals, I have noted the following:
- The feeling of my bare feet on a newly cleaned floor, or the feeling of waking up in freshly cleaned bedsheets.
- Walking in the front door and seeing both my dogs wagging their tails in perfect sync.
- The rays of sunshine that poked through the trees as I was walking around my neighborhood, just as I was listening to a beautiful rendition of a favorite praise song.
- Try the Daily Examen Prayer.
Many Christian communities observe the Daily Offices, a rhythm of daily prayer that aligns with different moments of the day. One of the evening prayers is called the Daily Examen, which is a structured way to end the day, reviewing it with prayer and gratitude. The following uses the pattern prescribed by St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Begin with a pause and a slow, deep breath or two; become aware that you are in the presence of the Holy.
What am I especially grateful for in the past day:
- The gift of another day…
- The love and support I have received…
- The courage I have mustered…
- An event that took place today…
Petition and Review:
I am about to review my day; I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me.
- Where have I felt true joy today?
- What has troubled me today?
- What has challenged me today?
- Where and when did I pause today?
- Have I noticed God’s presence in any of this?
Response and Look Ahead:
- In light of my review, what is my response to the God of my life?
- As I look ahead, what comes to mind?
- With what spirit do I want to enter tomorrow?
I would love to hear what practices and rhythms you have developed to incorporate more gratitude into your life. May your days ahead be filled with awareness of God’s blessings and enable you to live with a grateful heart.
See you Sunday!
CELEBRATION OF IMPACT 2022
Be sure to check out our website for our exciting 2022 Impact Report, celebrating the amazing ways your generosity has made a profound difference in our community and around the world. You can also turn in your estimate of giving for next year, before our annual Commitment Sunday on November 20.
JURISDICTIONAL CONFERENCE NEXT WEEK
Next week, United Methodist delegates from around the southeastern United States will be gathering in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, to elect new bishops for our Southeastern Jurisdiction. Pastors Vicki, Justin, and I are serving as delegates, along with Pastor Sally’s husband Clarke Campbell-Evans. Please keep all the delegates in your prayers as we do this important work. There will be no Midweek Message next week and will resume the second week in November.