Two weeks into the Beatitudes with my Sunday School class, and my ear is finally becoming accustomed to the cadence of another Kingdom, one in which those who are meek and mournful are pronounced fortunate — even happy. All of this is a fitting backdrop for reading Joshua Choonmin Kang’s Spirituality of Gratitude. His collection of fifty-two essays have been gleaned from his personal journal over the course of a season of suffering. In that long, dark tunnel of a year, thanksgiving overflowed in the face of his isolation and endurance, in the wake of brokenness and vulnerability, and in the midst of thorny problems and the crumbling of dreams.
My response to Pastor Kang’s words was surprisingly visceral. I needed to stop, to close my eyes, to agree in prayer with the words, and then to re-read the sentence before moving on. I finished the book over the course of several days, but, truly, that is no way to read it. Onto my nightstand it will go for another round of pondering, one essay at a time, one thought per week as a lexicon for the language of gratitude. I need time to process this wisdom:
- “True gratitude is being thankful for the situation we can’t be thankful for by our own strength.”
- “Gratitude has the ability to connect people to God and to one another. In fact, it has the power to build new bridges and to repair broken relationships, even those that seem irreparably damaged.”
- “Gratitude is an expression of appreciation, an articulation of what we have received. Like a receipt, our gratitude is evidence of the transaction of grace from God.”
- “Let us remember that miracles can happen when we value little talents and exercise them faithfully. With gratitude, let us live out the sublimity of the mundane.”
This book was provided by IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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