Pastor's Note

Senior Pastor,
Rev. Myung Eun Park
Contact Pastor Myung Eun
What Attitude Will You Paint Lent With?

Author James Moore tells a story in his book, "Attitude is Your Paintbrush," about being invited one evening to have dinner with a family in their home. When they sat down at the table, the mother called on their four-year-old son, Christopher, to say the blessing.

"Christopher, will you say grace tonight?" she said.

"Oh, Mom, do I have to? I don't know how," complained Christopher.

"Sure you do. It's your turn. Just tell God what you are grateful for tonight."

Then, like a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting, four-year-old Christopher began to pray. With one eye devoutly closed in prayer and the other eye discreetly open so that he could look around as he prayed, Christopher thanked God for everything in sight.

"Thank you God for the chicken, the roast beef, the brown gravy, the potatoes, the tomatoes, the cantaloupe, the slaw, the baked beans, the salt, the pepper, the knives, the spoons, the forks, the place mats, the tablecloth, the napkins…" and on and on he went, naming everything on the table. His brother and sister snickered.

"Thank you, God, for the table, the chairs, the floor, and the drapes, the tea, the ice and the sugar, the Sweet' N' Low, the lemons, the ketchup…." Finally, Christopher thanked God for all the people at the table, calling them all by name. He ended by thanking God for his dog who was under the table. He thanked God for everything he could see, except for carrots (he later said that he doesn't like carrots.)

Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, once said, "To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything God has given us - and God has given us everything." Apparently Christopher knew that and decided to teach that to his family. During Lent people have historically given up something (i.e. meat, chocolate, a meal, etc.) as a way of connecting with the suffering of Jesus on the cross. I've often wondered if God laughs at our attempts to "relate" to God's or Christ's suffering in such a simplistic way but the idea is that when you crave that thing you gave up you remember what Jesus gave up (first heaven and then ultimately his life) and you will give thanks to God.

I think the ancients understood something about human nature: we tend not to appreciate something until we lose it. Loss and suffering can make us more grateful and so maybe we should embrace it rather than shun it. At least until we can learn to give thanks for everything at all times and all places like little Christopher. Maybe we can even learn to give thanks for carrots.

Blessings,
Ron

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