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Thanks: Doorway to Praise

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

“I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart in the company and assembly of the just. Great are the works of the LORD, exquisite in all their delights.” (Psalm 111:1)

These words from Psalm 111 lifted from the paper, flow freely through my whole being like the melody of a favorite song, awakening my heart, creating a surge of energy as I recall God’s many “Ah-ha” moments.


I grew up on a farm in western South Dakota, and the beauty of nature was infused in me from the moment of birth. I am a seeker of light, color, nature, music and people. As a child I wandered the fields and streams curious about the pattern the water makes as is washes over pebbles, surprised by the bright colors of a baby garter snake, soaking up the soothing nature sounds and loving freely the animals that graced my life. I am grateful I have not lost the awe and wonder this life provides moment by moment. I just spent a week in Florida soaking up the sun, beautiful surroundings of palm trees and flowers, walking on the beach and truly entering into the rhythm of life as the waves flowed in and out. There’s something very magical about finding small sea shells, soaking up the sunrise on the ocean and recognizing I am a participant of God’s great works.


The definition of exquisite is “Of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence,” as a face, a flower, coloring, music or poetry. In my ministry as a chaplain I experience the “exquisite” in the people I meet daily, each one equally unique and special, meandering his or her way through health-related issues. As health care professionals we are gifted with many small miracles which take a multitude of forms if we are open to recognizing them. When we give thanks, we bring to mind God’s gifts to us. This, in turn, reminds us of God’s gracious nature. We think, not just of what God has done, but also of who God is. Thus, thanks is a point of entry to praise. There’s no biblical rule that states that thanks must always come before praise. But, for many of us, thanksgiving for what God has created leads us to praise God for who God is, giving us eyes to see the exquisite beauty around and within us.


Lord, today allow us to see others with eyes of grace and beauty.

Stretch us to immerse ourselves in the delights of Your great works.

Awaken us to the awe and wonder unfolding around and within us.

Pour out Your healing upon each one today

and fill us with compassion, love and hospitality.

May we give thanks to the Lord with all our hearts!


Tweeter Henseler
Chaplain, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital

2 CORINTHIANS 1:1-11 ● PSALM 111:1B-2, 3-4, 7-8 ● MATTHEW 6:7-15

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