Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19 (NRSV)
Verse 1I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
Verse 2Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
Verse 3The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
Verse 4Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord, I pray, save my life!"
Verse 12What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?
Verse 13I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
Verse 14I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Verse 15Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
Verse 16O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.
Verse 17I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord.
Verse 18I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
Verse 19in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
A thanksgiving sacrifice seems like more than the average person could undertake that would make any difference to the Lord. But is it? Martin Luther, in his meaning to the First Article of the Creed in the Small Catechism, reminds us that our shoes and clothing, food and drink, and so on, are provided out of the divine goodness of the Lord. All we are called to do is thank, praise, serve, and obey the Lord. We can thank God through daily prayer and devotion. Singing in the choir or from the pews is praising God. Serving on congregational council or on the worship team is serving God. Sacrificing or devoting your time, energy, money, and intellect is giving thanks to the Lord for all that exists. Giving from your abundance is giving thanks for the gift of grace you have been given out of the love God has for you and all creation.
Lord God, creator of all that exists, we are thankful for the sky above our heads, the land under our feet, and the air that we breathe. May we sing your praises from the depths of our being—for all we have and all we will ever be is a reflection of your love. Amen.