“We are receptive beings, dependent on the help of others, on their gifts and their kindness. As such, we are called to gratitude.” -Robert Emmons
What to Consider
- How does your church community practice gratitude together? What worship practices encourage and deepen a culture of gratitude in your community life?
- As a preacher, how might practicing gratitude change the way you view both your sermon and the community to which it is offered?
- Have you ever participated in a cycle of “paying it forward?” How would you conceptualize or sermonize on that experience theologically?
- In your community, where is ingratitude occurring, and how might that practice complicate the cycle of “paying it forward?”
How to go Deeper
- Challenge your community to keep gratitude journals for ten weeks. When the ten-week challenge concludes, create a space in which participants can share stories and process their experience.
- Read through a few thanksgiving Psalms (e.g. Ps.7, 28, 95, 100) and practice writing one of your own. In a community setting, read or preach on a thanksgiving Psalm, and have parishioners respond by writing their own Psalm of thanksgiving.
- Read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship and consider the theological implications of gratitude in light of “costly grace.”
- Facilitate a time of responsive prayer in which parishioners can practice building a “moral memory” by remembering moments or persons in the community for which they are thankful.