Should we, or, shouldn’t we?

Should we, or shouldn’t we? Has been a question brought to the fore over the last weeks due to Darebin and Yarra City Councils electing not to hold Citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day. At the heart of the matter is whether Australia Day should be celebrated on another date other than January 26th. The date means different things to different people, however, there’s a case for all of us, black or white, to come together to celebrate and be grateful for this beautiful country.

Should we, or shouldn’t we? Has been a question brought to the fore over the last weeks due to Darebin and Yarra City Councils electing not to hold Citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day. At the heart of the matter is whether Australia Day should be celebrated on another date other than January 26th. The date means different things to different people, however, there’s a case for all of us, black or white, to come together to celebrate and be grateful for this beautiful country.

Being grateful. Should we, or, shouldn’t we? We find the imperative to do so in Psalm 124:6 ‘Let us give thanks to the Lord.’ It is the Psalmists exhortation to the people to be grateful to the Lord for salvation from near destruction. Obviously, being saved from certain destruction is good enough reason to be grateful. Being grateful does something inside of us that may also change us on the outside. Believe me when I say that choosing to focus on good things makes you feel better than focusing on bad things. Here’s a link https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2733324/ you may want to check out that goes to show the scientific conclusions why this is so.1

There is another good reason why being grateful is good, in that it brings out the best in all of us. A 2011 study by the University of Southern California showed that when the competence of the participants was questioned, aggression and defensiveness was the result. However, when affirmation and gratitude were given the negative behaviour was reduced.2

The New York Times columnist Arthur C. Brooks in a piece titled: ‘Choose to be grateful. It will make you happier” talks about ‘interior gratitude’ and ‘exterior gratitude’. As space doesn’t permit, you may want to go to the link indicated at ‘Footnote 1’ on the next page if you want to read further up on these. Interestingly, Brooks writes of a third way of showing gratitude and that is to show ‘gratitude of useless things’ and he illustrates his point by referring to a poem on, well, useless things, which in this case were the spots on a trout. Seriously? It reminds me of a $1 draught stopper I bought at a fete. I had it for many years and only lost it during our recent move to Hoppers Crossing. It may seem a useless thing to be grateful for, however, it kept Melbourne’s hot summer wind and the cold draughts of winter at bay.

Brooks is pointing out that being grateful, even for ‘useless things’ helps make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. Just think. If we all practised gratefulness it will change our world. How important then to be grateful.

Friends, my challenge this week for each of you is to take a moment to reflect on the things you can be grateful for. If you find this difficult at first, you could begin by reflecting on Psalm 124:6 ‘Let us give thanks to the Lord.’

Should we, or, shouldn’t we? Rev. Faama Leota, August 2017.
1 https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/opinion/sunday/choose-to-be-grateful-it-will-makeyou-happier.html?mcubz=0
2 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103111003064

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