On faith: Giving thanks
By: Rev. Lawrence Lee, United Church of Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
Want to be happier and healthier? Give thanks. Seriously.
Last year a study was released by two researchers (Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami) in which two groups kept journals. One group wrote daily about the things that they were grateful for and the other group kept a daily tally of their gripes and grievances.
Not only was the group that gave thanks happier, but they also reported exercising more and enjoyed better health. This is no real surprise but it’s good to be reminded how important it is to give thanks not just on the fourth Thursday of November, but daily.
In Sunday worship at our church we have a prayer of thanksgiving every week and on communion Sundays we pray what is called the “Great Thanksgiving” before receiving the bread and cup. Giving thanks is a regular practice of what Christians do.
It also draws us together. It is good that we have intentional time set aside for giving thanks after the contentiousness that comes with an election season. This particular election season has been difficult for our community with people differing over many different issues, including the marriage amendment. My prayer is that in giving thanks we can remember the things that unify us.
Every month, through the Two Harbors Christian Ministerial Association, I am privileged to meet with pastors from all around the community. We are not in agreement about the marriage amendment either, but we choose to find areas where we can agree to act, such as our jail ministry, elder ministry, our Neighbor to Neighbor thrift store, our community Thanksgiving dinner (this coming Sunday), the community Advent service (on Sunday, December 3), the Good Samaritan relief fund, and so on. I appreciate how we, as a community of churches, can find so much to cooperate on and agree to disagree on other issues.
So I invite you to give thanks and look around our community with gratitude at what we can do together rather than retreating to the fears and grievances that drive us apart. It will make us all happier and healthier. Seriously.
The Rev. Lawrence Lee has been the pastor of the United Church of Two Harbors since 2003 and he gives thanks for his congregation daily.