The theologian Dallas Willard writes: Our need to give is greater than God’s need to receive.
This weekend in Canada is Thanksgiving. When I think of our need to give being so great it makes me wonder about our need to give thanks to God. Certainly it can be said that our need to thank God is greater than God’s need to be thanked.
That is certainly true when we think about the enormity of what God has done for us. From life to redemption, from redemption to forgiveness, from forgiveness to salvation, and from salvation to eternal life.
There is so much for which we are thankful, and yet when we thing of how much God has done and continues to do, we can be overwhelmed with the need to say thank you. So overwhelmed that we may not have the words to express what we really feel.
How then does the creature say thanks? On Sunday we will sing the hymn, “God of the Sparrow, God of the Whale”, which speaks repeatedly of our need to say something, but also of our inability to say it.
The questions the hymn asks:
How does the creature say awe? How does the creature say praise?
How does the creature say grace? How does the creature say thanks?
How does the creature say care? How does the creature say Life?
The answer seems to lie in the final wonderment of the hymn:
How do your children say joy? How do your children say home?
Our relationship with God transcends the creator and being relationship. When we have experienced the woe of knowing that we are separated from God and then the joy of saving grace, we realize that we have been elevated to the status of family. We have been adopted. We have been given access to everything that God has. Indeed we say joy. Indeed we say that we are come home. And then with hearts overflowing with love and thanksgiving, we realize that there is no way to be able to say an adequate thank you. What is best for us to do is to simply enjoy the life God has given us, and live in such a way that we share that joy and love and awe and praise with the whole world so that they too may know the grace of salvation.
There are no words to adequately express what we feel…let us simply rejoice in the Lord.
Let us pray:
Revive in us, O God, a desire to thank you with our whole being
Establish our joy upon the firm foundation of your grace
Join our hearts in joyful praise
Open our voices to sing your praises
Incite within us the need to thank you, praise you and serve you
Call us forth into the newness of being
Enlist us in your work of calling all people to redemption. Amen.