We did something a bit different instead of a straight sermon this morning. I wanted to reflect on the part of Psalm 40:10 which says “I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”
Rather than me spending ten minutes or so telling the congregation why sharing their experiences of God’s love is a good thing to do, I decided to engage in a bit of experiential learning by getting them to share those experiences in the service. As people spoke, I wrote what they had to say on butcher’s paper, which we placed on the altar for the Great Thanksgiving. Now, the pieces of paper are on display in the narthex for further reflection and discussion.
Here’s the list of what came out as we talked:
- Accidents avoided (safety)
- Answered prayer
- A place to live (divine providence)
- Nature (especially birdsong, and sunrises and sunsets)
- Music and singing
- A supportive community in the parish
- Family togetherness
- The joy of loving
- Dependable presence – an awareness of God – (especially in meditation) – a sense of immanence
- Strength when feeling low
- Blessings coming out of life’s difficulties
- Guidance in understanding
- Right paths in life (being able to come back after a wrong path)
- Guidance and blessings
- Comfort in grief
- Ongoing forgiveness
By the time we’d got all of that on paper, we were really just getting warmed up! But I didn’t want to let it go for much longer than a sermon typically would.
But what an awesome God we have, that we should have all these things for which to give thanks and praise together!