Saturday, November 24, 2007

Jus' plain thankful...

"O LORD my God, I will give thanks to thee forever." (King David)

I am thankful to have been raised in a multi-generational matrix of divine love and truth; for parents and siblings who love me unconditionally , and for grandparents who prayed for me, my brother and sister, my wife and children until the day each was "gathered to his/her people."

I am thankful for a wife whose inward beauty eclipses her outward beauty; who is as strong in faith and perseverance as she is tender in mercy and feminine graces.

I am thankful for sons and daughters who are also my brothers, sisters and friends. (I am required to love them, but extremely grateful that I like them as well.) They really are, individually and collectively, a hoot! I am thankful for a daughter-in-law who has brought so many blessings and graces to our family; brought so much happiness to our son, and will be bringing our first grandchild to us in January.

I am thankful for clan Helsel's love of story, books, hard work, laughter, good food, learning, four-part harmony and blue-collar wisdom/sensibility.

I am thankful for clan Boe's example of diligent labor, frugality, generosity, patriotism, service, hospitality, propriety and beauty.

I am thankful for Trinity Church's reverent worship and raucous celebrations; for a session of elders that take their work (but not themselves) seriously; for deacons who "deac" and for a community of saints who live and laugh, feast and forgive, in a manner worthy of their name.

I am thankful for the dark valleys of this last year and for the merciful passing of Ellen's mom. And thankful that Christians never have to say goodbye, rather, just "see you later." I am thankful that death is indeed swallowed up in life!

I am thankful for the motorists in our fair city whose driving tests my understanding of Christ's parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18.)

I am thankful for the various (and increasing) aches and pains to which I awake each morning and for the wonderful way that they keep me focused and longing for the final redemption and resurrection of all things.

I am thankful for the steady stream of "hard providences" that so very quickly take me to "tether's end", and force me to seek the wisdom of God's Word, the consolation of prayer, the counsel of my brethren and the supply of the Holy Spirit.

I am thankful for the ample reservoir of love that waters the various communities in which I live and move. And for the way that fervent love covers a multitude of my sins, and makes possible the forgiveness which my sinful failings all too often require.

I am thankful for the warm hum of tube-amplifiers and the rich electric sound of an American Stratocaster (three cheers for Leo Fender, wherever you are!)

I am thankful for whoever came up with the recipe for "Inversion I.P.A." at the Deschutes Brewery. (Absolutely amazing! How do they do get that little carmel zing at the end of each draught?)

I am thankful for the gentlemen who figured out how to harness and combine the various attributes of aluminum, steel, plastic, rubber and oil to create the full-suspension mountain bike. I am thankful for the gift of "leg and lung." And for the body's amazing ability to "self-repair" broken bones, sprains, bruises, contusions and abrasions.

I am thankful for the geniuses who gave us iPods, the internet and podcasts. And for the artists, pastors, teachers, authors and readers whose labors infuse our drive, work and work-out times with a wondrous supply of information, entertainment and beauty.

I am thankful for the novels of Khaled Hosseini and for his poignant pictures of grace, forgiveness, transforming love, redemption and sacrifice. And for the awesome ability of our God to draw straight lines with crooked sticks.

But most of all I am thankful to be a baptized member of a religion of GRACE. I am profoundly grateful that I do not receive what I deserve, but rather receive divine mercies and favor worthy of my savior Jesus Christ, who alone is worthy of the good that spills down from heaven and into my life each day.

Too glad to be true. But true nonetheless. O LORD, my God, I too will give thanks to you forever!

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