Vol 7 No. 34 Gratefulness and Thanksgiving

Dear Folks,

I would like to introduce the notion of gratefulness because it is something that I do not often seek nor am particularly adept at expressing. There are a great many ways to explore this theme but I want to particularly look at the idea that we often don’t see what is in front of us as something we should be grateful for. As T.S. Elliot once said:

“We shall never cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time”


John Bunyan in his Pilgrim’s Progress also developed the notion of wandering from a state of grace and gratitude to a place of sadness and estrangement from God.  Jesus in the parable of the Sower and the Seed, (Matthew 13:1-23), also reminded us how the cares of this world overwhelm the seed that was planted. I will also never forget the experience Jesus had in the story of the lepers (Luke 17: 11-16); ten were healed, one was grateful.  Having shared in this great diversity of story and image let me return to my original intent about being grateful for that which is in front of us.  It’s an old story that goes something like this (see July 15, Celtic Daily Prayer Book):

The House with Golden Windows

This is a story told of a young boy who lived with his parents in a cottage on a hillside, overlooking a wide valley. His great joy was to sit on the doorstep on a summer evenings, and gaze across the valley to a house away on the opposite hillside, for, just as the sun was sinking in the west, the windows of that house would burst into flame, shining dazzlingly with golden light. How perfectly happy the people must be who live here, he thought! One day he packed sandwiches and set off to find the house with the golden windows, but it was farther off than he expected, and it was already towards sunset as he climbed steeply uphill. To his disappointment the house was a plain cottage after all, and the windows ordinary windows. The good people there offered him supper, and made up a bed in the kitchen, for it was too late now for him to return. That night, in his dream, he asked directions of a girl about his age. ‘The house with the golden windows? Yes, I’ve seen it.’ And she pointed. He woke to the early song of the birds. Drawings the curtain aside he looked out. There far across the valley, was his own house – and, wonder of wonders, its windows flashed with gold in the brightness of the morning sun.


“And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

T.S. Eliot


There is so much being said and written about thanksgiving and gratefulness but so little about contentment. This weeks summer Sabbath reading seeks to do just that.



In Christ,