Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, November 14, 2011

One by one...

Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.   ~ Johnson Oatman, Jr.

This hymn was originally published in 1897.  Ummmm, tells me this message, this journey of eucharisteo is not a new journey.

Yesterday we had a service of hymns that began with "Great is Thy Faithfulness".  Hymns of gratitude and thanksgiving followed until we transitioned from gratitude into stewardship with the old hymn, "We Give Thee But Thy Own".

Preparing this service I was surprised to discover that many of the familiar hymns of thanksgiving were written by individuals who had lived through or were experiencing great hardship.  In the darkness, thanksgiving rose up in their hearts and wonderful hymns were written that have been sung by generations.

Last week, with the Wednesday Lunch Bunch, we studied the Ten Commandments.  I asked the group what "gods" they put before God.  The responses were varied and honest.

My family.  My church.  My responsibilities with a local NPO.  ..... One woman finally said, "My time."

The title of chapter 4 in Ann's book is The Sanctuary of Time.  Ann asks:

I see my reflection, those seeking eyes. You're the one in the dire need of time, that thing we can't buy, what we sell of ourselves to get more of what we think we want, what we sacrifice to seemingly gain. They say time is money, but that's not true. Time is life. And if I want the fullest life, I need to find fullest time...the busyness of your [Ann speaking to herself] life leaving little room for the source of your life....God gives us time. And who has time for God?
There is a story of a pastor who was asked what was his most profound regret in life.  Thinking of all the cemeteries he has visited, he replied: Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing of front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.

Yesterday the keyboard player s-l-o-w-e-d the last phrase of "Count them one by one..." each time we came to the end of the verse.  We hadn't talked about it ahead of time, as far as I know, she doesn't read my blog...but as I sang slowly that line again and again, I thought how she was tapping into my own journey of recording eucharisteo.

Name by one.

In order to do that, I HAVE to pause and make time, I have to pause in the sanctuary of His time.

It is different naming God's blessings one by one, than simply lumping them into one big thank you and hurrying out the door.
I scrub the bowl hard, try to scrape away the regrets of my life lived amateur. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 66)

Would you believe I have worked on this post for nearly 4 hours!


I have had interruption after interruption.

Life has been happening and once again, my time has been placed before time spent with God.

Sitting here I hold not only my own stories and thoughts, but the stories of those who have "interrupted". I hold their stories, am I holding God's stories?

The stories I am holding this morning all deal with individuals living with and within HARD eucharisteo moments.  Maybe, my challenge isn't so much to complete a journal posting with some profound and/or provocative thought to consider, as much as it is to prayerfully and intentionally be present with Christ as he is present within these circumstances.


This morning, I am desperately in need of sanctuary.

If I am to be present to God within the stories of all my interruptions, I first must simply be still and rest in His sanctuary of time....if counting my blessings one by one helps me to pause so that I am keeping the first commandment of not having any gods be God... then maybe I can better trust Him to be in all these hard eucharisteo moments others are carrying.

Counting blessings one by one....

Sanctuary of time.....

Raising words of thanksgiving and praise within hard eucharisteo moments.....within the harder stories of life....

Hymns. Praise Songs. Scripture. One Another....  Words that point to One.

There is another story/saying that the Universe is actually made up of stories rather than atoms. This I am going to pause and rest in the sanctuary of His time, I am going to consider this truth as well as some of the words that came from life stories of the men and women who penned the words of gratitude and praise that became familiar hymns of thanksgiving.

Many Blessings  ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. lol.....funny how it works---the Spirit that is.......nice post....sanctuary. I love that word, seek it, need it....I hope you found a bit of it and slowed down. as for your other question----no still sitting on it---waiting for the Spirit to inspire the right words to say....