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Prophetic Endurance

The Commitment to Gratitude

After walking the beaches of Campbell River for over a week, collecting seashells and listening to the sound of the waves as I travelled back and forth to Vancouver Island last week, I remember all the nostalgic times my family has shared and why I want the good times to last. You never know when someone's days may be cut short or you may lose a family member. While I was there, my sister, who was pregnant with her fourth child was admitted to the hospital, and by morning we were informed that the baby had died. We aren't releasing any details of her personal journey and the grief we share as a family. We know you will respect our right to grieve in silence, in the valleys of solitude where we roam not as strangers but as friends with the Good Shepherd.

It is these dark times that make us relish making memories, the future retreats, and moments of celebration when our family will be together again. We were sitting at the table having a Celebration of Life over ice cream and berry crisp, and it was only the next day that the country marked another death, another reason to fly the flag at half mast. It is only recently that I have come to understand what the middle ground its. What is this aspired territory that marks us for the eternal?

This understanding came to me, as I have mulled over quite a few sermons on pride and quite a few teachings on shame, and why neither are really esteemed in the Christian life. They can be almost close, then almost polar opposites. I began to wonder if we counter shame with pride so we don't fall off our mountains. It became more and more clear, that we are taught that shame and guilt and related and that they are bad emotions to feel. Before, telling our stories, and even testimonies became commonplace. But now, we hear more and more that people have adopted pride, using that word, price in their heritage, their culture, that their culture has value and that they should be proud. It would be difficult for committed Christians, I am thinking of Protestants to accept this descriptor because we have been warned about the dangers of pride, and of being too proud. We are regularly admonished to be humble instead, and told this emotion is un-Christian. Yet as I thought about the matter it became clear that there must be a middle ground where we could rest and be healthy... I believe this middle ground is gratitude.

Gratitude is the emotion we feel when we want to avoid shame for our past. It should be the place of balance from the pride of not needing anyone, to the gratitude that comes when we accept grace. It is gratitude that allows us to accept a Saviour. Indeed, the marker we should look for to identify a Christian is how grateful they are. Are they grateful for everything? Can we seriously bless Jesus in the good times and the bad? There are plenty of things to verbalize in gratefulness, in the avoidance of shame, guilt or pride. It is by means of gratitude, our gracious acceptance of the cost Christ paid that allows us entry into heaven.


At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Matthew 18:1-5


Jesus Anointed at Bethany

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Mark 14:1-9 (NIV)

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