Last week I got to hear Rev. Dr. Alex Awad, pastor of East Jerusalem Baptist Church, professor at Bethlehem Bible College, and retired missionary for the United Methodist Church. A Palestinian Christian who was born in Jerusalem, he is a direct descendant of those first disciples at Pentecost. But because he is a Palestinian, he is not allowed to live in the city of his birth. His father was shot when he was young, leaving his mother with seven children, forced to raise them as refugees.
And yet Dr. Awad says, “I am blessed!” One of the reasons for his sense of blessing is his strong, Christian mother, Huda Awad, who instilled a life of following Christ in the whole family. He writes about the gift of her life of faith in his book Palestinian Memories. He lists other blessings, as well, as he looks back on his life and his opportunities to serve others.
Listening to his deep gratitude, I was reminded of the basso profundo line in classical music, and how it anchors the rest of the music, as in Bach’s beautiful “Passacaglia,” for instance. That bass line, usually played by a harpsichord, is like an undercurrent that gives the framework for all the other voices in the music. Dr. Awad’s “I am blessed!” runs like an undercurrent beneath the conscious surface of his thoughts, declaring his basic stance in life.
So what do we tell ourselves, underneath our conscious thoughts, feeding our thoughts and feelings? Is it negative thinking, criticism, arrogance, self-doubt – or gratitude to God for all for the magnitude of God’s love? We can choose the message, and let it anchor our every moment: “I am blessed!”
Your partner in ministry,
See also: Beauty, Grace and Gratitude