This week the full-time All Saints' clergy and I spent time with our diocesan colleagues on our annual clergy retreat in Eatonton. Led by Bishop Wright, we were invited to name what we might praise God for. The results were revealing, but perhaps should not have been a surprise.
Many of us are used to forms of common prayer that invite us to name before God and the church those who are sick or in any kind of need, and those who have died. We also make it a habit to name our thanksgivings, although that is often one of the more quiet parts of our own corporate prayers. We are at least conversant with those sorts of prayers: "please help...thank you." We are less familiar in our shared prayer life with naming our praise for God.
Having been gifted such a rich time away this summer, my own answer to the prompt was to give praise for God's abundant generosity. What would your answer be today? How would you put words to how you feel about and experience God's nature in your midst?
I would love to know your answers. I mean it! If you are willing to send me a note in response to this message, I would be honored to learn how you see a God worthy of our praise in your own life. Please do consider writing.
This is that wonderful time of year when we draw to mind how we each and all experience God in our midst and yes, give thanks for God's boundless generosity toward us. A financial commitment — a pledge — to All Saints' is a tangible and eminently practical way to make your response to that generosity. Give as you have been given to. Give in such a way so as that gift itself gives praise to God.
Imagine a world of people who saw one another as worthy of praising God for! Imagine a world of people who praise God for those who provide love and care, but also for those they struggle to love. Imagine a world of people growing their capacities to be generous as God is generous.
And praise God for All Saints', a church God has birthed and nurtured along the way. May our life together continue to be an expression of praise to the God whose love is enough to set a whole world free — free to sing her praise!