Icon (Close Menu)

Giving Thanks (Easter 6, Year B)

May 5 | Easter 6, Year B

Acts 10:44-48Ps. 981 John 5:1-6John 15:9-17

With these words, we remind ourselves that anything we offer in the service of God we have first received from the fount of being: “All good things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (1 Chron. 29:14). Indeed, our very existence and every endowment we possess of reason or skill, every emotion and sentiment toward goodness and virtue, all our relations and friends, our circumstances and our duties come to us as blessings from above. We do well to notice them and profit even more from noticing frequently, with attention, and with expressions of the deepest gratitude for all the good surrounding us.

“What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?” (Ps. 116:12), the psalmist asks, and then answers: “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord” (Ps. 116:13), the bounty of which we well know. “My cup runneth over” (Ps. 23:5, KJV). There is no full accounting of all the good the Lord has done for us, but the effort to survey our life and all the vestiges of divine goodness is a befitting exercise. Indeed, such an exercise makes life richer and more joyful.

Briefly and comprehensively, quoting the General Thanksgiving of Morning and Evening Prayer: “Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for the goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life.” We have said much with these words, but not the one needful thing, not the better part: “But above all for the immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace and for the hope of glory.” We are grateful, it is true. Can we ever be grateful enough?

Think of details: spouses, children, events, occasions, a joyful day, a quiet night, friends, acquaintances, natural beauty, art, challenging and rewarding work. Make your list.

Writing private devotions never meant to see the light of day, the great 17th-century divine, Lancelot Andrewes, compiled a list of his reasons for gratitude. Let his list inspire ours. He thanked God for: “my being, life, reason, for nurture, protection, guidance, for education, civil rights, religion, for Thy gifts of grace, nature, fortune, for redemption, regeneration, catechizing, for my call, recall, yea, many calls besides; for Thy forbearance, long-suffering, long long-suffering to me way-ward, many seasons, many years; up to this time; for all good things received, successes granted me, good things done; for the use of things present, for Thy promise, and my hope of the enjoyment of good things to come; for my parents honest and good, teachers kind, benefactors never to be forgotten, religious intimates congenial, hearers thoughtful, friends sincere, domestics faithful, for all who have advantaged me, by writings, homilies, converse, prayers, patterns, rebukes, injuries; for all these, and all others which I know, which I know not, open, hidden, remembered, forgotten” (The Private Devotions of Dr. Lancelot Andrewes, translated by John Henry Newman).

Still, the list is not complete. It never can be. God has done for each of us “such good things as pass our understanding.” The promises of God “exceed all that we can desire” (the Collect). For that reason, we “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things,” some of which we know, many we don’t. God is an infinite fount of goodness and love and friendship to the ages of ages.

Look It Up: Psalm 98

Think About It: In gratitude, the seas make noise and the rivers clap their hands.


Top headlines. Every Friday.