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Giving Thanks for Enduring Love
by Deaconess Cherryetta Williams



Easter Lectionary: Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118:1-2; 14-24; Luke 24: 1-12; John 20:1-8; and Acts 10: 34 -43

After reading these passages, the verse that captured my attention was from Psalm 118:

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever! (Psalm 118:1)

This refers to giving thanks and God’s enduring love. One might think that the verse might be more appropriate for such occasions or celebrations as Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day. However, a more focused and deeper reading caused me to lift up the verses:

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).

I even remember the song I learned as a child in bible school and Sunday school and I sang it in my head. A smile covered my face as I continued my childhood and adolescent recollections of past spring breaks -- new dresses and shoes for Easter Sunday Service, memorizing and practicing Easter poems to recite at the special afternoon services, crafting Easter baskets with decorated eggs, attending Easter eggs hunts with friends and family, preparing special meals with succulent meats and delicious desserts, and watching the flowers and trees bud with fragrant smells and colorful blossoms.

I am happy and rejoice that I experienced a childhood filled with nurture, love, and unconditional support. I want to share my joy and blessings with others.

Rejoice and Give Thanks for Enduring Love.

As I read Isaiah 65, the initial theme of giving thanks and enduring love surfaced in those verses also. Specifically, God calls us to rejoice for he will create a new heaven and a new earth where sufferings will not exist but blessings will abound. Peace will reign over the land. Transformations will occur where known enemies will become friends and will not harm one another but feast and live together in harmony. 

Rejoice and Give Thanks for Enduring Love.

Luke 24 and John 20 continue what the theme of giving thanks and enduring love. I am particularly pleased that Luke 24 includes the names of women who are committed to service -- Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James. For that alone, I give thanks for this recognition and inclusion. Due to their love of Jesus, they went unafraid to an isolated tomb to care for his body with carefully prepared ointments. When they discovered Jesus had risen they did not keep this joyous news to themselves; instead, they shared the news with the disciples in spite of the ridicule and reception of disbelief they received. 

Rejoice and Give Thanks for Enduring Love.

One of powerful verses are found in Acts, which states:

I truly believe that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him (Acts 10:34-35).

Currently, in the midst of all the divisions and categories that are used to separate, discriminate, demean, and disenfranchise people, including race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, religion, ability, and language, to name a few, here, it clearly states that God loves all who want to be faithful to him. 

This is truly an affirmation of thanksgiving and enduring love. We are reminded and have another opportunity -- especially on Easter -- to reflect and to review that Jesus died and resurrected for all of us. Jesus calls us to embrace and include everyone as equal human beings to be loved and respected.

Rejoice and Give Thanks for Enduring Love.

Finally on this Easter Sunday, I will end with this prayer:

This is the day the Lord has made. This is a new day with new beginnings and new opportunities. Let us rejoice and be glad for so many blessings, encounters, activities, and events, such as the resurrection of Jesus, the victory of life over death, the faithful community of all God’s followers living in peace and harmony, in spite acknowledged differences of race, gender, language, age/ability, the call to service, to live justly, and do good. 

Rejoice and Give Thanks for Enduring Love.

Suggestion for Meditation:  Think about your activities and behaviors and how they contribute to a world of peace, harmony, and equality for all, strangers and familiar people.

Prayer:  Dear God, reminded me to be faithful to your call of service and just living. Make me mindful of how much I need to rejoice and give thanks for your enduring love and blessings.

Deaconess Cherryetta Williams serves at Bellevue Hospital, in New York, New York.  

Date posted: Apr 05, 2007


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