God blesses us in so many ways.

God blesses us with the glories of creation. We have had the most amazing summer. The flowers have gone on blooming longer. Harvests have been good. We’re into October, and we are only just beginning to think of turning on the central heating. Even yesterday’s rain showered us with its own beauty. When we were on holiday in Russia we saw new places and unfamiliar landscapes that were just thrilling. We sailed on the two largest lakes in Europe, so big that you couldn’t see the horizon – it was like sailing on the sea. We saw archipelegos of multiple islands that were just beautiful. And you will have memories of seeing amazing things. And television documentaries allow us to see the depths of the sea, the hearts of the forest, the heights of the mountains, things that we could never hope to see in the normal course of things.

The glories of creation – what a blessing!

God blesses us with family, friends and relationships. If we’re lucky, we fall in love and grow close to someone special. Or we have close friends whom we can trust with our secrets, our hopes and dreams. And then there is family: Harriet is always telling us about the blessing that her family means to her. Of course, not everybody enjoys good healthy family relationships – some families can be very dysfunctional. But we hope and pray that they can find blessing in friendships outside the home. And the risk of being close to people, whether family or friends is that we lose them and that causes us pain, but we still had the blessing of having them with us.

The intimacy of relationships – another blessing!

God blesses us with skills and abilities. In recent weeks, I have really been lifted by other peoples’ abilities in dance and song and music. This next week, I will benefit from people who can fix cars. We are all good at something, and using our gifts and abilities helps each other. I benefit from all that you are and all that you do. And it’s really important that we encourage and affirm other peoples’ gifts and skills, to help them grow and flourish. There was a film on the television recently, called Marvellous, based on a true story about a guy with Learning Disablities, who has made such a difference to so many people. It got great reviews, because everyone found it such a moving story. Sometimes the blessing is the person God made us to be and the impact we have on others by just being who we are – that too is God’s blessing.

The gifts and skills God gives each of us – we are so blessed!

God blesses us with food and clothing and all that we need. We have what we need, and often more than we need. Admittedly, there are people in our community who do not have enough to eat, who can’t afford food, whose circumstances are very difficult. And the things you have brought today will be used to help these people. Compared to people in far away places, where there is famine and war, and life is a daily struggle, even the poor in our country have a great deal.

Our food, comfort, security – we are greatly blessed!

Then there are many blessings that we take for granted:

  • We have peace in these lands when so many places have conflict and war;
  • We have democracy and the right to choose how we are governed;
  • We have justice and a legal system we can more or less trust.

These things are not perfect, and we strive to improve them. But they are a blessing.

For the blessings of peace, justice and democracy, for safety, security and sufficiency – may God’s holy name be praised! What blessings we enjoy!

Have you thought about the spiritual blessings you benefit from? God loves you personally – how glorious is that? God loved us all so much that his son left the wonders of heaven to get alongside us and show us what it means to be God’s child. God listens to you when you come to God in prayer. God forgives you when you ask for mercy. God blesses you each and every day.

Even when bad things happen, when we lose someone we love, when we experience illness or watch someone we care about suffer, when life is stressful – we are still blessed. God is with us in our struggling and suffering – we are never abandoned. When we can’t get work, when the opportunities just don’t seem to be opening up, when things don’t go our way – turn to God again and wait for the blessing.

And our response to all God’s blessings is Thanks. When you eat, when you wake to another day, when you lay down to sleep, when the sun shines, when the rain comes, turn to God and give thanks. Tell God – Thank You. Live your thanks in the way you treat others, in the way you serve. Live your thanks in sharing what you have.

God gives to you generously and unstintingly. He pours his blessings out upon you – not for you to hoard and hide and keep, but to use in the service of others, so that the blessing is passed on. We are never the final recipients, but we are call to be a blessing to those around us. That way, the blessing is multiplied. When we bless others, our own blessing grows.

The gifts we bring today are a sign of God’s blessing to us. They are a way of saying thank you. By them, we are passing on God’s blessing to those in need. We are showing the love that God first gave us.

I invite you this week to give thanks to God every day. As you get ready for bed this week, find six things to thank God for. And during the day, remember to thank God for the blessings that you notice on the way. God is so good to us. Give thanks to God!