From the Pastor

I recently heard a TED talk on gratitude. A.J. Jacobs, and author and writer had decided he wanted to be more thankful for those who helped contribute to the food he ate, so he began each meal with a little time of thanks, thanking the farmer who grew the tomato, and the truck driver who delivered the tomato, etc.

A.J’s ten year old son said, “That’s lame, Dad. None of the people you are thanking will ever hear that.”

So, as a personal project he decided to intentionally thank the people who contributed to his morning cup of coffee in person. It was a decision that would take him around the world, introduce him to fascinating people, and show him just how connected we are to one another. You can listen to the TED talk here. The venture led him to write a book, “Thanks a Thousand.”

Lutherans who remember their catechism should not be surprised by A.J. Jacobs’ discovery. Luther in his explanation of the 1st petition of the Apostle’s Creed had written “God provides us with food, and clothing, home and family, daily work, and all that we need from day to day.” In his Large Catechism Luther explains the web of inter-connection, how the farmer grows the grain, the miller grinds it, the baker forms it in the loaf for the farmer to eat so that he can work the soil and raise the grain, and how God blesses each vocation and provides every blessing.

We could do with a reminder of that from time to time.

Perhaps we should all embark on a personal journey to give thanks for the work and gifts of others from which we benefit.

The recent government shut-down has reminded us of how we are all inter-connected and dependent upon one another.

When one suffers, all suffer.

So take some time in this month of February to be about the task of thanking personally all those upon whom you depend. Open your eyes to see the giftedness of their vocation. Say “thank you” more intentionally and sometimes in places you have never thought to do so before.

Perhaps, like for A.J., it will be the start of a whole new appreciation of the world in which we live.

Pastor Merle