From the RevGalBlogPals this week:
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, NRSV)
Friends, it's nearly Thanksgiving in the U.S. and it's the time of year when we are pressed to name things for which we are thankful. I want to offer a twist on the usual lists and use Paul's letter to the church at Philippi as a model. Name five things that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise. These could be people, organizations, acts, ideas, works of art, pieces of music--whatever comes to mind for you.
1. The animal members of our household. For all the extra work they make and extra worry they sometimes cause us -- they are loving and honest and funny (sometimes intentionally, I'm convinced), and very often joyful, in a way that rubs off on their human companions.
2. The phenomenon of a social problem being embodied in one individual or family in a way that moves and rallies neighbors into compassionate action. I was privileged this week to be one of the anonymous agents in such a project; it's also an occasion for joy, to be a helper in this type of endeavor.
3. Good music -- sacred or secular. When I was depressed, one of the the things I noticed was how I tended to be mean to myself by not listening to music.
4. The sense of place that we experienced when we traveled "up north." It was so refreshing, and inspiring, to be somewhere whose residents were so grateful to live where they did and so mindful of supporting businesses and organizations and personal practices that help preserve the quality of life there. I want to live in a place where home-based businesses with roadside stands can count on the honor system to get paid for their products. I want to live in a place where every hamlet, it seems, has a busy recycling center. I want to live in a place where people buy and use local resources whenever they can. I want to live in a place where people of vision get together to plan for sustainable growth and conservation in their region. I want to live in a place where amassing "stuff" -- whether it's a subsistence-level household nonetheless in thrall to the materialism its members see on TV and the rest of popular culture, or the wealthy mansion-owner on the hill -- isn't a prevailing family value.
5. Art. It always amazes me that, wherever I go, there are local people who create amazing art -- photography, watercolors, sculpture, pottery, textiles. I wish my home were filled with crafted items -- items that speak to the skill and vision of their creators.