Brian’s Reflection: Friday, June 17, 2011
Thanksgiving is inseparable from true prayer ….. One who
always prays is ever giving praise, whether in ease or pain,
both for prosperity and for the greatest adversity. He blesses
God for all things, looks on them as coming from Him, and
receives them for His sake- not choosing nor refusing, liking
or disliking anything, but only as it is agreeable or disagreeable
to His perfect will.
John Wesley, priest, hymn writer; he was born on this date, 1703
I have no truck with this kind of thinking, be it from the 18th C or now ….. if it assumes a capricious God being nice at some times and nasty at others. (I do, though, understand Wesley’s comment in its cultural and time setting.)
But when one understands “God” in the context of Unconditional Love as portrayed by Jesus in Word and Deed, all difficulties dissolve. God is the Great Mystery we call Life. And Life is essentially a Blessing and a Gift, inclusive of its joys and its sorrows.
God’s “perfect will”, as I understand it from my experience of the Gospel, is one thing only: to love. Dennis and I visited a parishioner today in hospital who is seemingly at the last stages of congestive heart failure. He was calm, cheerful, welcoming friends, being appreciative and joking with the staff, chatting with his roommate. Consciously reflecting the God of Love he knows deeply. What Life gives, he is meeting it with love and trust and peace and lack of fear.
Yes, I know that there are so many people in the World who have only misery to deal with. It would be hard to expect them to catch a glimpse of the possibility of knowing Life as a gift to give praise for “in all things”. But for those of us who have been blessed with the experience of how fine Life can be, myself included, I feel it is my sacred privilege to do my best to, as Wesley says, give Thanks for the opportunity to love and for the love we have known, whether times be “agreeable or disagreeable”.