“ALL GOOD GIFTS” (Godspell – the Musical)

“We plow the fields and scatter the seed on the land

But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand.

He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain

The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us

Are sent from heaven above

So thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love.

We thank thee then, O Father, for all things bright and good

The seedtime and the harvest, our life, our health, our food.

No gifts have we to offer for all thy love imparts,

But that which thous desires, our humble heartfelt hearts!

All good gifts around us

are sent from heaven above.

So thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love.

I really wanna thank your Lord!”

It seems easy to be thankful for all good things – and thankful we should be. It also seems, however, that we should be thankful for the difficult and painful moments of life – the struggles and mountains that we have to climb. I don’t believe that we can really enjoy and appreciate the valleys without climbing the mountains first. We, in our humanity need to be tested – and pushed and prodded to get involved. It is so easy to be thankful for wonderful family dinners of Turkey, Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin Pie and Ice Cream. It is easy to be thankful for love and warmth and nice fuzzy things.

Life is not all sweetness and peace; but we dream of a heaven where all will be peaceful and warm and safe. We search for safety and warm relationships without arguments of differences – where all is calm. We dream of the Silent Night, peaceful and calm. But this is not reality. The evolution of the cosmos; of the galaxies filled with stars and planets is continually being transformed – changed and filled with birth of the new from  the death of the old. Our planet earth has been undergoing change from the very beginning; with earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and storms from the very beginning. Life continues to struggle to survive and to grow through periods of great change – not always peaceful.

The Scriptures tell us of the stories of human slavery, war, violence, greed and blindness. They also speak of the continuing love of God the Creator. The Gospel of Jesus speaks to us of God’s love being born into human flesh – and showing us the way to accept life. Birth itself is painful and taxes the levels of patience – and love. But the beautiful story of Christmas leads to the Crucifixion – the pain and letting go of life as we know it in order to experience the re-birth – the renewal and growth that life demands. Life requires soft rains, as well as violent storms; warm sunshine as well as droughts and floods. Life that exists in a hothouse environment is weak and not able to survive and to continue – death is quick. When we have to struggle to succeed in life; in careers, in marriage, in the demands that change brings, we learn to become strong and viable. Real success requires vision, adaptability, determination and plain old hard work. It also requires the vision that we do not walk our journey alone; we are all connected and need each other to conquer the difficulties that we encounter along the way. None of us are self-made. Love demands that we give of ourselves for the sake of the other – as we receive from them.

Only when we realize that we are not self-made – that we are not God (s), can we be thankful. When we presume that we are self-made, then we worship ourselves as gods – and presume that all others are there to serve me – that they are things to be discarded when they fail. When we begin to realize that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves, and then we are able to give Thanks to God for all good gifts – and to realize that we are gift for others. That is the Sacrament of the Eucharist personified; in receiving, we become that which we receive. Thanks be to God.

 

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