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 I was a nurse long before I was a pastor and I know how intricate is the body and how many things can go wrong.  Given this, I am always amazed that we are healthy so much of the time.  How many times does our heart beat? A reasonable estimate for the number of heartbeats in a lifetime is about three billion.


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
October 1, 2006

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Breathe, and give thanks for breath

We had a woman and her daughter come to our healing service Saturday. They proceeded to the altar with several concerns for healing.  They didn't look particularly wealthy.  In fact, when I talked to the woman later she said that she was 72 and couldn't retire.  And yet she put a sizeable (for her, it seemed) offering in the plate on the way out of church.

I started thinking about thank offerings.  We give thank offerings when our prayers are answered.  It opens our hearts, and at least for that moment we are truly grateful and generous.  Maybe this woman is always that generous, I don't know.  But why don't we wake up every morning that we are alive and healthy and give thanks.

I was a nurse long before I was a pastor and I know how intricate is the body and how many things can go wrong.  Given this, I am always amazed that we are healthy so much of the time.  How many times does our heart beat?  Since the solar year consists of 525,948 minutes and 48 seconds, a quick calculation at the rate of 80 beats per minute gives us a ballpark figure of 42,075,904 beats per year -- give or take a couple mil. A reasonable estimate for the number of heartbeats in a lifetime is about three billion.

Maybe we should be less shocked when someone has a heart attack and more amazed at every day that we do not.  God has indeed given us incredible machines in these bodies of ours.  And yes, we do need to go for healing sometimes, to doctors and to prayer, since all healing, just as all life, comes from God. But the amount of wellness is never noticed as much as the amount of illness. 

I had a woman last month come back to thank me for the healing she received.  I told her she could have gone to any church to thank Jesus, since she was out of town, but she said she wanted me to know that her eyesight was recovered.  But every day that we can see and walk and live and love should be reasons for thanksgiving.

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139).   That ought to be what we wake up to every morning and in the praise  we might find the truest motive for giving, that is thanksgiving.

Lord, we do indeed praise you, for we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Let our lives show forth that praise.  Amen<



Copyright 2006, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.



The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.