Gudstjänst den 14 februari kl. 11

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I söndagens gudstjänst talar Monica Lundgren om Tacksamhet. Gudstjänsten strömmas via församlingens facebooksida: Betlehemskyrkan - Grankulla svenska metodistförsamling.

Worship service on February 14 - the sermon in English:

THANKFULNESS

When I was a little girl I spent all my summers in the countryside in our summer house. We had neighbours, who quite often went to play Bingo and one day they asked me to come along. I knew it would be difficult to persuade my parents to give me one mark (about 20 cents) to be able to participate in one round of the play. But finally I succeeded. Very happy I left with the others to experience something new and exciting. People were playing and then the round started where I could participate. It was so exciting. I had only one number left to be filled, when I heard that very number be announced. I won and got a gift card for 40 marks (less than 10 euros) to the big department store Stockmann. I took my bike and went home with a high speed to tell my parents about the prize. It was a day of joy and gratitude. I will never forget the feeling I had that day.

Our joy and gratitude can be caused by very little things. And never shall we despise the small things that can still mean so much to us. God really cares about the details as well. God tells us to bring all our requests to him: Phil 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. God´s care for us in all situations and circumstances is really a reason for our gratitude. And we all know that sometimes not much is needed to have a problem solved and then we are grateful also for that.

But we can explore more about gratitude. There are a lot more things that are adequate – not only numbers in a play – to bring our life together and make it satisfactory and meaningful. Our gratitude is based on many things. There is SOME ONE who is worth our gratitude.

In Paul´s letters there are many verses that talk about living in gratitude. I have myself seen this call so many times and have started to follow it and then had a wish to explore more about it.

Paul says in Col 2:7: As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Here we can see that thanksgiving is closely bound to our faith in Jesus. There are many reasons for thanksgiving that come from the fact that God is and that we have a relation with Him. Paul continues: Col 3:17: And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Our life and our deeds should be so close to God that all we do should be done in the name of Jesus. That means that we use the power of Jesus´name and live according to His will and our whole life becomes dependent of Him – for that we give thanks to the Lord. God is working through us and that is a reason for joy. Our gratitude to the Lord becomes a way of living, because we cannot do anything without Him.

When I continue to search the meaning of thankfulness, I find some words in Hebrew and Greek and they give me new knowledge. The Hebrew word for thanking means to reach out your hand and to confess. To give thanks means to confess your sin. Strange! I have to think about that for a while before I get it: It is not so strange that the possibility of confessing my sins and getting forgiveness really gives me reason to the deepest gratitude. To be forgiven makes our life so much easier, either we are forgiven by God or by man. Forgiveness is a condition for us to be able to live together!

Also in Greek there is a similar meaning of the word giving thanks – it is grace. The one who has received God´s grace and accepted the death and resurrection of Jesus, can in a right way bring thanks to God.

One more word in Greek: eucharistia. That is the word we use for the Holy Communion, the Eucharist. That is also a word that means gratitude.

When we put together all these words and meanings, we come to the basic truth for our lives: When we confess our sins, receive the grace and the forgiveness of Jesus, there is a great reason for gratitude. The worst thing we can do is carrying our sins.

It is not strange that Paul tells us to give thanks to the Lord during all circumstances. We do not have to ask ourselves why we should give thanks to the Lord. The reason for our gratitude is the remaining offer from God to confess, receive forgiveness and live together with the Lord.

There is just one thing that can make the joy and the gratitude grow and get greater: when we tell someone else about Jesus and lead him to faith in Jesus Christ. There are many who do not believe in Jesus. And Jesus waits for a big choir who sing his praise and give him thanks.

May the Lord open our eyes so we can see everything he has done for us and live in gratitude.

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