Sunday, July 3, 2011
Zechariah 9:9–12; Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30
I had just arrived in a new parish when a member told me how, in a horrific flash of fewer than two years, her husband died, her son was incarcerated for drug possession and her daughter committed suicide. The woman was disconsolate, drowning in grief and despairing of her empty, painful future. That's when her pastor dared to say something so bold, so outrageous, that she never forgot it. "Thank God every day," he counseled her, "even and especially when you can scarcely find a reason to do so." She admitted that there were many days when she couldn't manage to thank God for anything, but she summoned the courage to try, and in time thanks became a daily practice and a source of strength, hope and eventually even joy for her—not to mention a profound and unforgettable lesson for her new pastor many years later.
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