Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

2nd Sunday of Easter – RCL Year A
Acts 2:14a, 22-32; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!
The Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia!

On the morning of Good Friday I headed into Atlanta to participate in the Annual Ecumenical Good Friday Pilgrimage. Although the walk was to begin at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, near City Hall, I knew I needed to be here, at Christ Church, shortly after the walk was over, so, the perpetual planner that I am, I decided to park near the finishing point, at the Martin Luther King Center, and walk about a mile to the starting point.

After finding a place to park, I made my way up Edgewood Ave. on foot. At 8:30 in the morning, the sidewalks were mostly empty, but I did encounter a few folks as I walked toward town.

In my clericals, I was an unexpected sight to one man who stopped me along the way. He was working on a demolition project and told me about his struggles with a co-worker, perhaps with the hope that I might provide words of guidance to resolve his conflict. We talked for a few minutes, which I’m not sure was so helpful, but perhaps encouraging, and then I was back on my way.

A few blocks later I approached an intersection where three men stood, waiting for the light to change. One of them was drinking from an aluminum can wrapped in a small paper-bag. As he turned and saw me, he smiled what seemed a self-conscious smile. Yet when it was returned with a smile of my own, and a “Good morning” greeting, he relaxed a bit, and then asked expectantly, “Is God Good?”

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A Daily Morsel of Gratitude

November 28, 2013

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Thanksgiving Day – Year C RCL

Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Psalm 100, 18-21, Philippians 4:4-9, John 6:25-35

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our national holiday for food and football…
fried turkeys, friends and family! (not necessarily in that order)

And if we take a moment amid the rolls and gravy, it’s a day that invites each of us to reflect upon what we are thankful for.

As I thought about this, the work of Brené Brown came to mind. She’s a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Some of you may have seen her TED Talks on you tube – I was fortunate to get to meet her and hear her speak at a symposium last February. Her research for the past 12 years has studied shame and vulnerability and out of that work, she has discovered ways people bring about joy in their lives.

In a video interview published last year, she shared insights about the link between joy and gratitude. She was surprised to find in her years of research, that the only people who described their lives as joyful were also those who actively practiced gratitude. She admitted

that in the beginning of her work she thought that she’d find the opposite to be true: “if you are joyful, that you should be grateful.” But it was actually the other way around. She found that “practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives.”

She went on to explain that the practice of gratitude isn’t just feeling grateful, or having “an attitude of gratitude.” It’s having an intentional and tangible gratitude practice. Some people keep a gratitude journal, while others might pick a time each day to say out loud something they are grateful for.

For her family, each night at the dinner table, after saying grace, they go around the table and share something that they are grateful for. I’m guessing this may be a fairly common around dinner tables today – a day set aside for giving thanks – but to make it a daily practice, that’s a different story. Read the rest of this entry »

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