What would it be like to live in a village whose motto is thankfulness? Wigsley, I learned from the internet, is one of a handful of villages who received all her men back from the Great War. But what if you lived in a community who was legendary for everyday thankfulness? How do you work towards this? Know your tradition, community, and trajectory.
Tradition! It’s not just a great song…it’s a common set of strong ties in a community. The Bible is a long story about God’s work in the world, played out in the lives of different people. Psalm 105 summarizes one piece of it, beginning with, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;/ make known his deeds among the peoples!” In the long line of friendships with God, humans keep messing up, and God keeps giving second chances. He calls out the greatness in us, creates community. And like the verse says, we need to spread the news!
You pick up the habits of the people around you. Just watch. That phrase your co-worker uses, or your best friend’s words will probably start slipping into your sentences. So, community is very important. And we have a great group of believers to look to for examples and inspiration. Just read Hebrews 11-12, often known as the “Hall of Faith” or “Who’s Who of the Bible.” They show us what life can be like.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God,” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
And trajectory, flight path, end-goal…it’s all aimed toward God! The end of this world is coming, like it says in 2 Peter 3: “11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
This is our hope, the focus of our faith, what we can be thankful for on the worst days: God has given us the tradition of a long-term community of believers who will encourage us to persevere right to the end where He wins! Stepping back to see the big picture and see what God has done is the first step to being known as a thankful community.
God, I get so focused on the “now.” I lose sight of the next day, week, month, years, much less history past and future. God, thank You for perspective. Thank You for people to admire from the past, and people to encourage for the future. The community of believers is beautiful. Please help me to continue to grow in how I see this, and to encourage those around me to craft a “thankful community.” Amen.