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  • Writer's picturePastor Bruce

Newsletter June 2024 - First Presbyterian Ridgewood, NJ



NEWSLETTER JUNE 2024
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Dear Friends,


It's been said that lessons learned as a child will last a lifetime. When I was a child, my mother began each day with a recitation of Psalm 118:24. "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." And she instilled in me that same appreciation for each new day, as well as its blessings and opportunities. As I grew older and at some point began to think theologically, my theology was shaped by that early lesson in gratitude. The gift of life and the gift of life eternal are graciously provided by God in Christ who loves us more than life itself. And the appropriate response is gratitude.


It has been my observation that grateful people are generally happy people because they focus on and are grateful for what they have rather than what they lack. From time to time, as I counsel people who are struggling, I encourage them, when I believe it is appropriate, to keep a gratitude journal. Invariably, after they have engaged in this practice for some time, they report that their problems no longer seem so overwhelming.


This summer, I will use some of my Continuing Education time to participate in a Gratitude in Preaching and Worship Seminar at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There, I hope to learn from workshop leaders and participants how to deepen my own spiritual practice of gratitude. For instance, how to sincerely give thanks in all circumstances, even when I don't feel so thankful.


Further, I hope to discover ways in which I might more effectively communicate a theology of gratitude through worship and preaching, sharing with you what I believe is an essential practice if we are to fully experience the abundant life Jesus came to offer.


In the words of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”


Grace and peace,

Bruce



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