Strategies for Seeing Anew #8
…towards appreciation and gratitude
What does this mean?
Thankfulness is a response to life as a gift from God; it is the opposite of seeing life in terms of what we deserve or what we control by our own efforts. Gratitude involves a reorientation of life with thankfulness as the default setting. Being thankful raises awareness not only of our own situation but also brings to mind the situation of others. Thankfulness is towards God (Psalm 92:1) and others (1 Timothy 2:1). Martin Luther saw gratitude is the basic attitude; it is like a mould that shapes life. When someone does something for you there is a sense of thanks that are due, hence Luther’s saying that ‘Unthankfulness is theft’. Thankfulness often involves taking time out from our striving to just appreciate what we have received. Too easily a consumer culture can slip into ingratitude.
Throughout the Bible, people give thanks to God in prayer, song, worship and dance. Saying thank you is the most basic form of prayer but one that is never grown out of.
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. Meister Eckhart
Jesus gave thanks for food and to God for answering his prayer over Lazarus. Jesus commended the one leper who came back and said thank you for his healing. Paul starts many of his letters with thanksgiving and tells the Christians to give thanks in all things (Colossians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). The term ‘Eucharist’ (Holy Communion) means thanksgiving; it is a thanksgiving for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that opened up a new relationship with God through the forgiveness of sins.
This section is about moving towards appreciation and gratitude. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from discontent and always wanting more or is it a movement from a lack of awareness of what there is to be thankful for?
What does this mean in school?
Gratitude and expressing appreciation can change the atmosphere in a classroom:
- Teachers can model and encourage appreciation and thanks, both in relation to students and by expressing gratitude for the things in creation that are studied.
- Set up a classroom ethos of expressing gratitude as a habit, for example using the sign language for thank you as a quick way of expressing thanks.
- Draw students' attention to things we can be thankful for using focusing activities. This can be done by organising teaching and learning without an element that is normally taken for granted, such as electricity or books.
Think of a time when students expressed gratitude to you. What difference did it make? Create opportunities for students to feel the effect of gratitude by being intentional about thanking them. Identify a lesson where you can focus attention on something we take for granted, for example, water.
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In this document:
1It is wonderful to be grateful and to sing your praises, Lord Most High! 2It is wonderful each morning to tell about your love and at night to announce how faithful you are. 3I enjoy praising your name to the music of harps, 4because everything you do makes me happy, and I sing joyful songs. 5You do great things, Lord . Your thoughts are too deep 6for an ignorant fool to know or understand. 7Though the wicked sprout and spread like grass, they will be pulled up by their roots. 8But you will rule over all of us for ever, 9and your hateful enemies will be scattered and then destroyed. 10You have given me the strength of a wild ox, and you have chosen me to be your very own. 11My eyes have seen, and my ears have heard the doom and destruction of my terrible enemies. 12Good people will prosper like palm trees, and they will grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. 13They will take root in your house, Lord God, and they will do well. 14They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old. 15And they will say about you, The Lord always does right! God is our mighty rock. The Lord is king
1First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. 2Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honour God. 3This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Saviour. 4God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is, 5There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. 6God showed us this at the right time. 7This is why God chose me to be a preacher and an apostle of the good news. I am telling the truth. I am not lying. God sent me to teach the Gentiles about faith and truth. 8I want everyone everywhere to lift innocent hands towards heaven and pray, without being angry or arguing with each other. 9I would like women to wear modest and sensible clothes. They should not have fancy hair styles, or wear expensive clothes, or put on jewellery made of gold or pearls. 10Women who claim to love God should do helpful things for others, 11and they should learn by being quiet and paying attention. 12They should be silent and not be allowed to teach or to tell men what to do. 13After all, Adam was created before Eve, 14and the man Adam wasn't the one who was fooled. It was the woman Eve who was completely fooled and sinned. 15But women will be saved by having children, if they stay faithful, loving, holy, and modest. Church officials
1I want you to know what a struggle I am going through for you, for God's people at Laodicea, and for all those followers who have never met me. 2I do it to encourage them. Then as their hearts are joined together in love, they will be wonderfully blessed with complete understanding. And they will truly know Christ. Not only is he the key to God's mystery, 3but all wisdom and knowledge are hidden away in him. 4I tell you these things to keep you from being fooled by fancy talk. 5Even though I am not with you, I keep thinking about you. I am glad to know that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong. Christ brings real life 6You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. 7Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful. 8Don't let anyone fool you by using senseless arguments. These arguments may sound wise, but they are only human teachings. They come from the powers of this world and not from Christ. 9God lives fully in Christ. 10And you are fully grown because you belong to Christ, who is over every power and authority. 11Christ has also taken away your selfish desires, just as circumcision removes flesh from the body. 12And when you were baptized, it was the same as being buried with Christ. Then you were raised to life because you had faith in the power of God, who raised Christ from death. 13You were dead, because you were sinful and were not God's people. But God let Christ make you alive, when he forgave all our sins. 14God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. 15There Christ defeated all powers and forces. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory. 16Don't let anyone tell you what you must eat or drink. Don't let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival. 17These things are only a shadow of what was to come. But Christ is real! 18Don't be cheated by people who make a show of acting humble and who worship angels. They boast about seeing visions. But it is all nonsense, because their minds are filled with selfish desires. 19They are no longer part of Christ, who is the head of the whole body. Christ gives the body its strength, and he uses its joints and muscles to hold it together, as it grows by the power of God. 20You died with Christ. Now the forces of the universe don't have any power over you. Why do you live as if you had to obey such rules as, 21Don't handle this. Don't taste that. Don't touch this.? 22After these things are used, they are no longer good for anything. So why be bothered with the rules that humans have made up? 23Obeying these rules may seem to be the clever thing to do. They appear to make you love God more and to be very humble and to have control over your body. But they don't really have any power over our desires.
1I don't need to write to you about the time or date when all this will happen. 2You know that the Lord's return will be as a thief coming at night. 3People will think they are safe and secure. But destruction will suddenly strike them like the pains of a woman about to give birth. And they won't escape. 4My dear friends, you don't live in darkness, and so that day won't surprise you like a thief. 5You belong to the light and live in the day. We don't live in the night or belong to the dark. 6Others may sleep, but we should stay awake and be alert. 7People sleep during the night, and some even get drunk. 8But we belong to the day. So we must stay sober and let our faith and love be like a suit of armour. Our firm hope that we will be saved is our helmet. 9God doesn't intend to punish us, but wants us to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ. 10Christ died for us, so that we could live with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11That's why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing. 12My friends, we ask you to be thoughtful of your leaders who work hard and tell you how to live for the Lord. 13Show them great respect and love because of their work. Try to get along with each other. 14My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn't living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone. 15Don't be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else. 16Always be joyful 17and never stop praying. 18Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. 19Don't turn away God's Spirit 20or ignore prophecies. 21Put everything to the test. Accept what is good 22and don't have anything to do with evil. 23I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 24The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this. 25Friends, please pray for us. 26Give the Lord's followers a warm greeting. 27In the name of the Lord I beg you to read this letter to all his followers. 28I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you!