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I want to invite you to think about gratitude with me.

As a priest, I have the honor of celebrating the Holy Eucharist, the principal act of Christian worship going all the way back to the beginning of the Church. I reflect often on the fact that Eucharist means Thanksgiving. In the midst of all of the fears, troubles, misunderstandings, disagreements, shame, stupidity, and divisions, the Church gathers every week to say to its members and to the world: You are made for gratitude, and in your offering, you receive the fullness of God.

When I am farthest away from God, I am at my most selfish and least grateful. I am consumed with what people think of me, whether I did something right, what I need to do to solve a problem, how I can get ahead, whether I can be impressive, and how I can avoid looking foolish. I simply do not trust in the fact that my very self is “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). But by God’s grace, I often wake up from troubled sleep reassured of this identity, and refreshed with a spirit of gratitude.

I give thanks to God for my life, and that He has made me a character in His story. I give thanks to God for my family and friends, and endless opportunities to love my neighbor as myself. I give thanks to God for each one of you reading this. Please pray for me, and for each other! If your heart is full of gratitude, there’s no room for anything else.

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Andrew Petiprin is an Episcopal priest, and author of the book Truth Matters: Knowing God and Yourself. Andrew is a regular contributor to The Living Church magazine and the Covenant weblog, among other publications.