One of the keys to understanding the Christian life is hidden away at the end of 1 Thessalonians, in 5:16-18:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
If at first we read it, it sounds like a throwaway line for Paul to say something encouraging as he finishes a letter to a Christian congregation. But the challenge is in these words: always, continually, in all circumstances. To live a life of constant prayer and thankfulness is, in many ways, to live as Christians should, because it means that we experience the presence of God even in the darkest episodes in our lives. If we do this, there won’t be much else that we have to learn as followers of Jesus.
This Sunday at St. Mark’s we are having a service where we are emphasising thanksgiving, intentionally calling to mind what God has done for us this year, sharing those things with each other, and praising him for them. For those of you who are coming, please reflect on what you can thank God for, and what you can share. What we practice together we can start to do at other times ourselves, looking hopefully towards the time when we are giving thanks always, continually, and in all circumstances.