Thursday, September 1, 2011

eucharisteo in washing windows

it happened a few months ago, towards the end of Spring,
sitting outside with a buddy enjoying some fro-yo

we noticed an older man walking back & forth along the outside path,
cleaning the store windows that rimmed his path,
with his bucket and squeegee in tow.

the interesting thing was
his constant muttering to himself...
we couldn't make it out,
but he seemed to be in constant conversation.

when he found himself cleaning the window nearest us
i struck up friendly conversation with him
asking, "How ya doin' today?"

he answered with joy,
declaring how blessed he was.
that's positive and encouraging, i thought, if not a bit generic.

but he elaborated upon his assessment
when, unsolicited, he got specific in his thanks.

"this step"
he placed one foot forward.
"this breath"
he inhaled deeply.
"this beat"
his hand patted his chest.

"i thank Him for each and every one.
He doesn't have to give it to me.
this step - thank ya, Lord.
this breath - thank ya, Lord.
this beat - thank ya, Lord."

he literally, after EVERY step or breath he took,
would mutter happily to the sky, as he went about his business:
"thank ya Lord ... thank ya Jesus ... thank ya Lord"

my buddy and i just look at each other
in complete awe.
so moved by his gratitude,
how he poured out his thanks to the Lord.
for the simple things
that most of us don't think twice (even once?) about.

a living, breathing, walking testimony to God's goodness and provision.
a life of moment-by-moment obedience to Psalm 9:1
"I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds."

...recounting His wonderful deeds...

in the early months of 2011 a friend & i read a book together.
neither of us had any idea how deeply it would change our lives:
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

the book is ann's story of
discovering joy

through the means of giving thanks.
not just general, vague thankfulness...
but specific, tangible, moment-by-moment
'recounting His wonderful deeds'.

greek for "thanksgiving",
used when describing Jesus sharing
the 1st communion (or Eucharist) with His disciples.

Christ's body and blood broken & shared for us.
His death giving us life.

and, within eucharisteo - meaning giving thanks,
one finds charis - meaning grace,
and its derivative chara - meaning joy.

a holy trio
of grace, thanks, joy.

she discovered that when she
(1) counted God's graces
(specific, tangible things... big & small... this beat, this breath, this step)
(2) and gave thanks for them
...she found that
(3) He gives her joy in return.

that is how He wants us to live!
experiencing all of life as GIFT, giving thanks, & receiving joy in return.

having just finished that book,
having had my perspective on JOY completely changed...
i saw this man as living Eucharisteo in the flesh.

in the mundane of scrubbing windows
counting each
as God's grace to him,
something worth giving thanks for,
...his joy was radiant.