Two Words (or maybe four)
September 28, 2021
“Thank you!” So often we might hear these words at the end of a message, report, or visit. But what if they were the first words we heard too? What if instead of saying “Thanks be to God” just at the end, we might also begin with, “Thanks be to God?”
If you are like me, and up on the road before sunrise, seeing the sun rise in the sky to the east on a beautiful Nebraska morning can be a moment to pull over, and catch the sign of a new day and God’s light of hope shining through. In that moment how could you not say, “Thank You” or “Thanks be to God?”
Towards the end of every day, each evening when my wife and I put our kids to bed, we begin our prayers, “Dear God. Thank you for today…” I’d like to think we were intentional about this on the front end, but if I’m being honest, it’s a routine we have fallen into over time and it is one that has stuck. For all the things we probably come up short on as parents of a 3-year-old and 11-month-old, the one thing I think we get right, is that our daughters are learning to say “thank you” and to live with a sense of deep gratitude from the beginning of their lives.
So in that spirit, I wonder, if you were to begin your prayers like this, what would your prayer look, feel, and sound like? As I think about you and your congregation, my prayer might look and sound like this:
Dear God, thank you for today. Thank you for all of your beloved children who are growing as disciples, serving as stewards, and sharing your love with the whole world. Thank you for your faithful people, gathered in the 240+ congregations of this synod. Thank you for their discipleship, for faith communities where your Good News is proclaimed and made real, and for their generous stewardship as they serve, give, and live in response to all that You have done, will do, and promise to do, in deep gratitude and joy for You. Be with your people near and far, and help us to see them, to walk with them, and to share your love through all that you have entrusted to our care.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
There’s nothing deeply profound about a prayer like this. But I wonder, if we truly live life out of a deep sense of gratitude, might we too live and serve in a deep sense of joy and hope? These are things we need now more than ever in our world. And they are real. Because we know the truth that God is with us. That God is for us. And that God loves us. Always. When we remember that, saying thank you might just be a little easier, and leaning into our lives as grateful and joyful stewards might just seem a little more natural too.
Deacon Timothy Siburg serves as the Director for Mission, Innovation and Stewardship. He has been a Deacon since 2016, serving on synod staff here in Nebraska since May 2016. He resides in Fontanelle with his wife, Rev. Allison Siburg (Salem Lutheran, Fontanelle) and their two daughters.