Stop! Quick, think of three things you are thankful for! This simple act might be the healthiest thing you do today. Cognitive science has shown that we make better decisions, experience less anxiety, sleep longer and eat less if we practice daily gratitude. But these studies only confirm long held spiritual truths. When we begin with thanksgiving we turn ourselves away from our well-rehearsed worries and preoccupations and find ourselves in a space of humility, awe and wonder. As St. Ambrose (C. 340-397), one of the doctors of the church said, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” In Luke 17:11-19 ten lepers were healed but only one returned to give thanks, and that one was a foreigner. Although all received healing, his reward was to be made well, to be made whole.
Beginning of the meeting
Read the reflection above. Quiet yourself. Become more aware of God’s presence. Open yourself to the love of Jesus as you read or hear the following passage.
Luke 17:11-19 New Revised Standard Version
11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 14 When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ 19 Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’
Reflect on these questions for a few moments in silence and then turn to another person and discuss.
- What is the difference between being healed and being made well or whole?
- What stops us from being thankful? Is gratitude a natural behaviour or does it need to be practiced?
- What are you thankful for in your family, in your church, in your community?
Bring the discussion to a close and invite people to sit quietly in prayer for a moment.
- Each person says aloud three things from their gratitude list from question 3 above.
Conclude by saying PSALM 66:1-11 together.
This psalm is a hymn of praise and thanksgiving that has been sung for thousands of years to God for freeing the people from slavery .
Be joyful in God, all you lands; sing the glory of his Name; Sing the glory of his praise. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great strength your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down before you, sings to you, sings out your Name.” Come now and see the works of God, how wonderful he is in his doing toward all people. He turned the sea into dry land, so that they went through the water on foot, And there we rejoiced in him. In his might he rules for ever; his eyes keep watch over the nations; Let no rebel rise up against him. Bless our God, you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heard; Who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip. For you, O God, have proved us; you have tried us just as silver is tried. You brought us into the snare; you laid heavy burdens upon our backs. You let enemies ride over our heads; we went through fire and water; But you brought us out into a place of refreshment.
End of the meeting
Read the passage once again and ask how God’s Word has been known in your time together.
Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!