Tailwind? Thanks! - Reflection 11-14-18

 Texts for Sunday November 18, 2018
 A Service of Thanksgiving 

 Deuteronomy 8:7-18
 Philippians 4:4-9
 Luke 17:11-19

 Gloria Dei is celebrating Thanksgiving this Sunday with a special worship service.

 One healed leper, a Samaritan, (which is two-strikes, double outcast stuff), returns to give thanks. Jesus says “Your faith has made you well”. Interesting. What did his faith have to do with his return?

A couple of years ago, a pair of academic psychologists, Tom Gilovich and Shai Davidai, examined bias in people's assessments of the benefits they've enjoyed and the barriers they've faced. People pay attention to the things that get in their way or slow them down. However, they easily dismiss or ignore positive resources and support that come their way. The team uses an analogy of a bike rider responding to the wind, calling the phenomenon the headwind/tailwind asymmetry. A cyclist will continuously notice (and probably curse) a heavy headwind as they pedal, but when they can finally turn around, they are grateful for a moment, but rather quickly forget about the tailwind that now helps them along. Their progress is of their own making. Another example they used is how siblings always believe that the other one had it easier and that they had it harder (admit it: your siblings had it better…)

If you plug the Gospel story from Luke into this, perhaps the nine other people had paid plenty of attention to how the obstacles over which they had no control had ruined their lives (which is true). As soon as they were healed, they were again in control of their lives, and moving ahead to new challenges. But something about the faith of that tenth man helped him to truly rejoice in this new tailwind. His faith facilitated his recognition and savoring of it as pure gift. 

The Apostle Paul, who was in prison when he wrote Philippians, encourages the congregation to notice the tailwinds. There were plenty of headwinds for the new Christians, but Paul tells them to instead to “Rejoice in the Lord always”. 

Psalm 145 reminds readers of our Gracious Tailwind

 The LORD is faithful in all his words,
    and gracious in all his deeds. 
The LORD upholds all who are falling,
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,

    satisfying the desire of every living thing.

Around thanksgiving you hear adults naming gratitude for “family, friends, loved ones”, which is fine. But it doesn’t stop there. How about a reliable car, an easy drive to work, opportunities, trees, the sunrise, music, electricity, a warm shower? 

What other tailwinds support your daily life that are easy to overlook?

Transcript of an interview with Gilovich and Davidai on Freakonomics Radio.

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245