Jesus the Ingrate

Gratitude is more subversive than we typically recognize

Something a little different for Thanksgiving — a video of one of my favorite gratitude talks. In this mini-lecture, I offered an unexpected take on gratefulness and pointed out that Jesus isn’t sentimental about giving thanks. Indeed, sometimes he wasn’t thankful at all. I hope you’ll enjoy Jesus the Ingrate - from TheoEd, recorded in April 2019.


Dear Creator,
You, the borderless sea of substance,
we ask You to give to all the word that
which we need most — Peace.

Dr. Maya Angelou

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

—Joy Harjo

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need. 
—Book of Common Prayer

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 
—2 Corinthians 9: 6-8

You visit the earth and water it abundantly;
you make it very plenteous;
the river of God is full of water.

You prepare the grain,
for so you provide for the earth.

You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges;
with heavy rain you soften the ground and bless its increase.

You crown the year with your goodness,
and your paths overflow with plenty.

May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing,
and the hills be clothed with joy.

May the meadows cover themselves with flocks,
and the valleys cloak themselves with grain;
let them shout for joy and sing.

—Psalm 65: 9-14

THE COTTAGE won’t publish this coming Friday as I take a break and enjoy Thanksgiving Day with my family.

The next edition will start the Advent series. On each of the four Sundays beginning on November 29, you’ll receive a reflection on the poetry of Madeleine L’Engle. I trust my Christian readers will enjoy this - and I hope that friends from other traditions will find them moving as well. Even at this dark time, Light hovers at the horizon. 

During the week, The Cottage will continue to engage the news and issues of note — as always from a thoughtful perspective on faith and spirit.

Make sure to sign up! And invite your friends to do likewise!



Thank you so much for joining me here at The Cottage. I appreciate all the encouragement you’ve given me this year — and the generosity with which you’ve received my words.

Blessings to you and yours. Stay safe.

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