A Lesson in Thankfulness

St Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

Last Thursday afternoon I spent a wonderful time at St Michael’s Primary School.

I’m very used to being there on a regular basis – particularly to lead school worship – but, on this occasion, Mr Johnston had specifically asked if I could come to worship not to lead, but to listen. Naturally, I was intrigued.

When I arrived I was asked to sit in a very comfortable armchair at the front as the whole school assembled in their usual orderly and well-behaved manner. It was then that Mr Johnston informed me it was “Thank you, Vicar” week and that the whole school wanted to celebrate the splendid relationship that exists with St Michael’s Church.

The children seemed to know a huge amount about what a Vicar does. Obviously they knew that I was in school for worship and meetings. The older ones knew that I was a Governor, too. But then I was delighted to hear that they knew I took lots of services in church – including the special monthly School Eucharist when each class in turn joins our regular Wednesday morning congregation. They were aware that vicars christen people, marry people and take funerals. They knew that we do what we can to visit the poorly and the lonely and that we try to share with others God’s love for us all.

The next part of the occasion was really moving. The children said that they realised a vicar does lots to care for and look after others and that they wanted to let me know they felt I should be cared for too. Apart from the lovely comfortable seat I was sitting in they presented me with a lovely cup of tea, a pair of toasty warm slippers and (rather than a bunch of flowers) a large box of ‘Roses’.

I was then presented with a beautiful handmade card which included a page of good wishes from each class in school. And then, as if that were not enough, they sang ‘Thank you, Lord, for this fine day’ with an extra verse ‘Thank you, Lord, for Reverend Paul!’

I am telling you this because, from time to time, we all need to feel ‘special’ – even the Vicar!

We do take so much for granted, don’t we? God treats each of us as ‘special’. After all, Jesus told his followers that his heavenly Father even counts the hairs of our head…Perhaps it’s time you did something to make someone you know feel special. It would be an expression of God’s love too and, in a paradoxical way, that sort of recognition makes the one doing the recognizing feel better as well!

Gratitude is a wonderful characteristic: there really should be more of it in our world – and the good news is that we can make it happen.

So, give thanks for all you have and for all the blessings you have been given – and remember to thank others when you know that they are enhancing your life or making some little part of our world a better place.

At the risk of sharing with you once again one of my favourite quotes from George Herbert:

“Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart.”

With every blessing,

Paul

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