Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:16
My partner, Rosean, moves slowly these days. While I am walking with her I have time to look around. There is always something beautiful that catches my eye: the cascade of magenta blooms on my Christmas cactus, which habitually starts to flower around Thanksgiving; a russet leaf edged with light on the tree outside our front window; or even the blue-lit bubbles rising in my electric tea kettle as the water heats. Each offers me a moment of enjoyment, and I find myself rejoicing.
These days we are surrounded by little, glorious things. Your cat, sleeping in the sunniest place in the house, purrs when you run your fingers over her silky fur. Or your dog lays his chin on your lap and looks out of the top of his head at you with completely trusting eyes. The kids visit you by Zoom. Or maybe they’re much younger, building Lego spacecraft on your living room floor. These are astounding miracles about which we’ve grown entirely too complacent. They are cause for rejoicing.
Praying without ceasing is simply a matter of being aware of our relationship with this God, who is present in all our moments, and being thankful. We are self-aware and Holy-aware creatures, the only ones like us on this planet (that we know of, anyway.) God loves our delight and cherishes each moment with us. Our noticing and rejoicing is a gift to God as much as it is to ourselves.
Today is Gaudete Sunday. Today, and all week long, may we find the myriad of things in our lives about which to rejoice. May our rejoicing bring us into closer relationship with God, who created them all and who delights in our appreciation of them. May we pray without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances — for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, the incarnate One who experienced the world for a time as we do, and knows what it’s like to be human.