The Gratitude Challenge

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Luke 17:11-19 (New Revised Standard Version)

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

What scares, confuses, or challenges me in this text?

What delights me in this text?

What stories or memories does this text stir up in me?

What is God up to in this text?

This story above is the appointed gospel of the Day of Thanksgiving this year.  We know that we are supposed to be thankful all year long, but it is nice to have a holiday to look forward to expressing our thanks and praise, to God, to our families and friends, to our community and world.  I have seen many exercises lately to try to increase thankfulness, including a “30 Days of Thankfulness Challenge.”  I have been happy to see so many of my friends express their thanks and praise, especially when they mention me as someone to be thankful for.  For some, this idea of being thankful for 30 days straight might be a challenge; this year I want to challenge you even a little bit more.  Begin your season of thankfulness with a blank sheet of paper and a little bit of time.  Write something like “I give thanks for….” at the top of the sheet.  Then, on your first day of thankfulness, write down everything you are thankful for.  Be specific.  Write until you can’t find anything else to be thankful for today.  Then, on the next day, review your list, and add one more thing.  Keep going, on the same sheet, every day until Thanksgiving.  Encourage your whole family to get in on it, gather all these things in prayer on Thanksgiving, and finish it off with a great big AMEN!  Then, as we enter the often hectic season before Christmas, post it somewhere prominent, so you can remember those things for which you give thanks even when your life seems a little too thankless.  As it says in Psalm 118:29 “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”  May God’s blessings stir up in you an attitude of thankfulness, now and always.

In Christ,

Pastor Breen Marie Sipes

p.s. An extra bonus!  Here is a Thanksgiving prayer that you can use with your family this Thanksgiving, if you wish…

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Lord of all, we thank you for all of the blessings which you

have given us, which we name before you now…(take turns

sharing).  Help us to recognize all of the blessings you have

showered upon us, and to use them and ourselves for your

glory, now and always.  Amen.

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