“Thankfulness is an eagle-grace, whose aim lies all in soaring and mounting towards the sun.”

                              –Nicholas Lockyer

     Have you seen the movie ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’? It stars the very nice actor Tom Hanks playing the even nicer actor Fred Rogers. Of course, Fred Rogers is the Mr. Rogers of the famous children’s show. There is a scene in the movie where Fred (Tom Hanks) asks Lloyd Vogel (played by Matthew Rhys) to participate in a small ritual with him. Here is the dialogue:

“We’ll just take a minute and think about all the people who loved us into being,” Rogers gently suggests.

“I can’t do that,” Vogel responds.

“They will come to you,” Rogers assures him. “Just one minute of silence.”

In the middle of a fairly crowded restaurant, they pause. Rogers and Vogel share a powerful moment of remembering and reflection. Tom Hanks in the middle of the scene maintains his gaze with the camera and by doing so, even invites the audience to join in. It is an unusual and powerful scene, an unexpected moment of gentleness from an industry that usually shovels violence in our direction. 

     I would like to baptize that moment. I want to ask you to “take a minute and think about and thank the Lord who loved you into being.” The apostle Paul writes of the pre-eminence of Christ, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:15-17, ESV, emphasis mine) Our remembrance and reflection begins with the God who created us. It is the Lord Jesus who sustains us and all things. Fred Rogers blesses Lloyd Vogel by giving him the opportunity to be thankful even for the difficult seasons of his life and even for the deep disappointments that have been visited upon him through the actions of others. 

     Nicholas Lockyer encourages us to develop the grace of thanksgiving when he notes:

“Thanksgiving is a spirit still upon the wing, rising and ascending to heaven from every thing. Never at home but at heaven; it is a very low thing that he cannot rise from as high as heaven. He eats and looks up; drinks and looks up; looks down and looks up; whatsoever he looks upon he cannot look off God. Whatsoever he sees, hears, tastes, smells, he takes wing from, and goes bound in spirit for heaven; whether he eats or drinks, or whatsoever he does, he does all to the glory of God. Thankfulness is an eagle-grace, whose aim lies all in soaring and mounting towards the sun. It is a soul still travelling from earth to heaven, from the creature to the Creator.” [Nicholas Lockyer, Balm for England, 134. (italics mine)]

Today may you travel from earth to heaven on the wings of thankfulness. Have a blessed week and we will see you on Sunday at The Cotillion.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Dale

PS. Thank you to everyone for the many wonderful ‘thank-you grams.’ Your kind words are a real source of encouragement to me and my whole family.