Those of us who remember Bishop Michael’s induction services will remember they almost always begun with the reminder that Christian people are always thankful people. Thankful for the great story of salvation in Jesus Christ, thankful for life’s everyday blessings. It was an exhortation that was usually then followed, especially in multi parish benefices, by trip around the saints to which the local churches were dedicated, quite a number on some occasions!
This is a theme to which we return this coming 4 July when with the rest of the Church and the nation we are invited to play our part in #ThankYouDay. This is a day (with a steering group chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury) that is bringing together hundreds of community groups to say thank you to everyone who has helped us – from shopkeepers and teachers to the friends, families, next door neighbours and people from our places of worship and community groups.
It is something that I hope we, as Christians, are eager to embrace. The word for the act that lies at the heart of our worship as Christians is ‘Eucharist’ – a Greek word that means thanksgiving. In the Eucharist as we read the scriptures and break bread, we tell the story of God’s great saving work; of the creation when God made all that there is and saw that it was good; of our redemption in the birth and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ bringing new hope and a new start to a fallen humanity and a fallen world; and of the call to live in community in the power of the Spirit sharing the love of God and working for the coming of the Kingdom. As Christians we are the bearers of the Good News, called to live a life of thanksgiving and to share that with all we meet.
I hope that it might not be difficult for us to do something to give visible expression to this alongside others in our community this 4 July. This is a great opportunity use our diocesan ‘Thank You’ resources including the really great and FREE ‘Thank You Cards’. Other suggestions are as simple as a litter pick, a simple shared picnic or a community music event – outside of course! Have a look at https://thankyouday.org.uk for more information and suggestions.
Please share what you do on social media using #ThankYouDay and tagging @glosdioc
None of this has to be difficult or indeed demanding, it is rather about making the connections to who we already are and what we do. Its about playing our part in shaping the way we all live as we begin to emerge from this pandemic, a people thankful for each other, thankful for the gift of life, committed to sharing that life with all.