Giving Thanks

The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya

Giving Thanks

Beloved in Christ,

The hours between 6:00 and 8:00 am always feel like a mad sprint in my household. Making sure two kids are up, dressed, and well fed, tending to the morning household tasks, and getting myself ready for a day of bishopping is, I have found, about all one can fit into a two hour block. There is always at least one thing that doesn't go as planned. One of the kids couldn't find an important item for school, we were out of milk, there was a last-minute spill as we are rushing out the door. It's easy for those minor morning frustrations to frame the rest of the day. When we start the day by focusing on what is wrong, we'll find plenty of evidence to keep focusing on it everywhere we look.

What I often completely overlook in the morning is the staggering number of things that go right every single day. I am awake and alive. I have a comfortable home. I have plenty of food. My morning tasks are made so much easier by devices that didn't exist for most of human history. Coffee that is grown on the other side of the world comes to me in a form that all I have to do is throw a few spoonfuls in a filter to get a delicious beverage. I have a car that functions and gets the kids to school. It's amazing how many things go far better than I deserve every single morning. When I carry that into my day, things appear very different indeed.

Complaint can often be our primary currency. It's so easy to focus on all the things that don't go right, and to take a little pleasure in bonding with one another over petty grievances, or sharing a moment of critique of what others should or should not be doing.

But in contrast to the currency of complaint, gratitude is the fundamental posture of the Christian life. Our core belief is that everything belongs to God. The central human vocation is to be a steward of the gifts God has given us. Eucharist, the central act of Christian worship, literally means to give thanks. Eucharistic living is about seeing the world as a pure gift, and living a life that is an act of gratitude for that gift.

Eucharistic living is not about naively pretending profound suffering and injustice don't exist in the world. It isn't closing our eyes to our own and the world's great pain. Rather, eucharistic living is about so clearly seeing the small glimpses we all get every day of what God longs to give the world that our lives become full, uninhibited participation in that gift and the giving. Seeing the gift, and committing every breath to extending the gift, is the path to God's liberation and healing.

As we pause this week, know that this diocese is one of God's greatest and most profound gifts to me. In every corner of this beautiful place, you teach me how to see the gift every day, and challenge me to be more generous in the giving. Thanks be to God for each of you.

Grace and peace,

The Right Reverend Craig Loya