Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.
– Lionel Hampton
For many years, jazz icon and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton (1908-2002) has been one of my inspirations on how to approach life: to take advantage of the gift of each day created by God and give back to it. Hampton left this world with a legacy of being one of the greatest musicians for his virtuosity on vibraphone, percussion, piano, voice, and as for his skills as a band leader. He once wrote, “I’m motivated. The spirit hits me and I just keep going and don’t stop. The more I play, the more I can invent, the more ideas come to me.” It was his gratitude for each breath, for family, education, employment, privileges, travel, relationships, communities, and the arts that informed his sheer delight in music-making. With a heart of gratitude, not only did he offer his gifts and talents, he encouraged numerous others to do the same with their lives – every single day.
The month of November at GSL includes several invitations for gatherings of reflection and outward expressions of gratitude: November 3, All Saints’ Sunday Poems on Gratitude Forum and 2020 Stewardship Pledge Offerings; November 10, Faith, Jesus, and Journalism Forum; November 17, Episcopal Relief and Development Lasting World Changes Forum; November 22-23, 38th Annual Diocesan Convention; November 24, Annual Meeting of the Parish; and November 28, GSL 79th Parish Anniversary & Thanksgiving Day Holy Eucharist. In one way or another, each is associated with matters of the heart and intends to offer blessings to those who are able to engage. They are all bound to leave a lasting memory of gratitude, which can be called upon at any time.
Here in the heart of Midtown Memphis, we have it good, really good. It excites me to know that through investments in and celebration of all that is offered for and by the parish (worship, music, formation, pastoral care, fellowship, outreach, sacred spaces), we will thrive even more to the glory of God. As one of my mentors wrote, “Gratitude practice is beneficial for every spiritual personality. One moment of gratitude leads to another, and in the end, we have hearts filled with joy.”
Our parish vision is to be a thriving community of hope, belonging, and healing through worship, parish life, and service, and who rejoices in the love of Jesus to transform the world. May our everyday gratitude inspire us to transform this vision into the dream of God.
Godspeed and blessings as we try,
– The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector