Ação de graças (the actions of grace)

The title is how Brazilians refer to Thanksgiving – I like it… It reminds me again and again that all that I am is because of grace – and this week we celebrate the tangible (and intangible) manifestations and actions of that grace that sustains us and gives freely to all…

On Monday afternoon we went down to the streets and it was such a rich time. It was a beautiful sunny spring day, and the youth we usually spend time with on Mondays had left their usual spot in the median of a busy road and were down by the bay enjoying the cool breeze singing around them. There are stone steps down into the water, fishing boats and ferries cruising by, and a number of high places that are perfect for jumping into the cool water – doubly delicious on a hot day. And I was so happy to be invited to swim with Bruno and Eduardo, two of our friends from there. So much fun (and I haven’t gotten sick yet from the water, which is… how shall I put this… the opposite of pristine.) I took my guitar and we had a bit of me performing and a few impromptu lessons, followed by a bit of group worship singing familiar songs – truly a joyous time.

Later that afternoon, as we stood in a circle in preparation for our dinner of sandwiches and hot chocolate, David (a friend who has been interning with us these past few months) shared how this week was Thanksgiving in the US. As he is leaving to return to the US, he wanted to take the opportunity to thank God for each of the youth on the streets. David shared how they touched his life, and how he wouldn’t forget them. We prayed over our meal, and then as I prepared to let go of Fabião and Ingrid’s hands, neither would let me go. A young woman standing next to David began listing a few of the things she was thankful for – friendships, food, our presence, and David. And then another young man said “I’m thankful for this beautiful day, and for your friendship with us”. Another, after a few moments of pensive silence, said “I’m thankful I’ve never been shot, and for this food…” and on that note, hands slipped down and we began to serve the meal.

And I was touched by their gratitude – for the everyday nature of their thanks. I was also challenged – how many times am I so much less thankful when I have so much to be grateful for? And I truly am blessed…

Yesterday I picked up the keys to my tiny new apartment in the favela of Jacarezinho (little alligator). I have a place to live, with the potential to turn it into a home. I am back in Brazil, with a visa for at least the next year. I am surrounded by beauty and my needs are provided for. Tomorrow I leave for a few days of retreat – of worship and fellowship and laughter and silence and beauty and the beach and surfing and basking in the infinite love of my Abba. I have friends and family who are dear to me all over the world. I am a child of the King, and he is caring for me. My cup truly overflows…

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2 Comments

Filed under beauty, fun, gratitude, streets, stupidity, worship

2 responses to “Ação de graças (the actions of grace)

  1. dave

    wo hen gan xie ni shi wode hao pengyou! smiles benito 🙂 we have much to praise Him for!

  2. laura

    so… where is this new place?? how exciting!

    🙂

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