Till the sky spills over

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By Dave Henning / September 8, 2015

LutherSouth2001“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”- Colossians 2:6-7

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”- G. K. Chesterton

“The remedy is in the retina.”- Ann Voskamp

I have yet to attend one of my Luther South (Chicago) Class of 1969 reunions.  However, when I received advance word that South would be celebrating its 50th Anniversary on an August weekend in 2001, culminating with a Sunday service of praise and thanksgiving in the school gym, I dropped everything to contact them.  I wanted to express my gratitude through serving as the organist for the worship experience.

The sky spills over with gratitude as I reflect on South’s blessings to me:

a.  a strong college prep curriculum with outstanding electives that provided a smooth transition to Concordia- River Forest

b.  extra-curricular opportunities: drama club, musicals, school newspaper (mailing editor, sportswriter)

c.  opportunities to minister in worship; as senior accompanist for the A Cappella Choir and assistant chapel organist

This is not to say that high school was a cakewalk.  Socially, it was a difficult and awkward time.  For an unhealthy amount of time, I chose to ruminate on those social issues rather than focus on the greater blessings with gratitude.  The personal slights I felt infringed on my perceived right to happiness and obstructed my vision.  C. S. Lewis once commented on thinking about the world in God in the Dock:

“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for your happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a  place for training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

Joy is hiding in gratitude.  That’s why G. K. Chesterton describes joy as “the gigantic secret of the Christian.”  As Ann Voskamp points out, we can begin with one act of thanksgiving  for the seemingly insignificant, especially when things go wrong with us, and unlock the mystery of joy:

“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. . . . The clouds open when we mouth thanks.”

 

About the author

    Dave Henning


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