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Greta Simpson —

Gratitude was the theme of a Harington House led chapel sermon

Veronica Bagley - Opening responses, prayers

Zoe Hanna and Sam White - Opening responses

Zoe Chapman - Bible Reading from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 17

Phoebe McColgan - Story of the night

Greta Simpson - Sermon

Katie Brown - Silent prayer and reflection, school prayer and sign of peace

Lulu Yarrall - Prayer

Hazel Hulme - Closing responses

Anna Morris - Boarding community focus and final prayer

Theme: Gratitude

“I'm sick of having lamingtons for morning tea”. “Gross, it's ham today”. “The wifi turns off too early”. “Oh, man, I have math first today”.

It is something that can change the way you view life. It is something that can improve the experiences you have day in and day out. It is something that will bring more joy to the things you do. Gratitude. Simple, but often severely underestimated. Tonight we will be further exploring the idea of gratitude and the power it can have on our lives.

Being grateful doesn't come naturally to most people. We are pretty good at focusing on the bad things and forgetting about the good things that happen in our day, hence the complaints before.

In the game we just played, most of us were happier for the person who got the apple products than the people who got the food and water, textbook and first aid kit. While to us the iPhone is what made us most excited, people in a less fortunate situation would much prefer to have the water, or the first aid kit, and most definitely the textbook. While we may complain about having to go to school, others would do almost anything to have an education even slightly as good as we have here. While bread and butter for dinner here could be used as a punishment, for others, it is a luxury. Our everyday norms would be a great source of joy for countless others in the world.

The act of being thankful for something big or small seems to be becoming less and less common in the world we live in today. Being grateful for what we have is actually really good for us, it improves things such as our self-esteem and our physical and psychological health. It has been proven that grateful people even sleep better. And what's more, it makes you a more likeable person. People like grateful people, when someone says thank you that never goes unnoticed, yet when no thank you is said, we often pick up on this and note it down in a negative way. Going back to the bible reading; Jesus said “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” to the only man that returned after being cleansed, he himself noted that the nine others did not come back to say a simple thank you. This reiterates the point that showing a little bit of gratitude never goes unnoticed.

Gratitude is not something we think about often. Which makes sense really, as it shouldn't be something we actively have to think about, considering it's not often emphasised. However, when we go to help people less fortunate, or just become aware of situations much worse than ours, it shines a light on just how good we have it. Yet once we get back into our lives, it's so easy to slip back into our own issues within our own little bubbles. We return to worrying about ‘issues’ that are tiny in the scheme of things and cause even more unnecessary stress. That's why it's important to catch ourselves when we have these unnecessary negative thoughts and get better at putting things back into perspective.

I'm not saying that this room is full of the world's most ungrateful people. Nor am I suggesting we need to openly proclaim our gratitude for everything in our lives, from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night. But, I think we are far too good at finding flaws in what we have. We don’t all have to walk around pretending everything is perfect when aspects of our lives aren't necessarily great. But it's also important to remember that for the majority of the time, we are in a situation about a hundred times better than someone who doesn't even get to go to school. It is said that having clothes on your back, food in your fridge and a place to sleep makes you richer than 75% of the world. That alone is something we can all show gratitude towards.

I'm going to show a video now about someone talking about the small reasons to be grateful.

Hopefully, from that video, you can see that something as small as pants are one thing to be grateful for, otherwise when you think about it, things would be kind of awkward.

While that was more the light-hearted side of showing gratitude, it really does help. Gratitude can have a massive impact on our lives.

It changes our perspective, our outlook, and our feelings. It can change how we express ourselves, and as a result, gratitude changes the way we experience life. “Gratitude turns what we have, into enough.” This quote simply states the obvious. Think about it. When you get grateful for what you have now, you will soon have more to be grateful for. When you send out those feelings of gratitude, what happens – you become instantaneously happy in this moment. When you are grateful and happy with life, as it stands today, so many more things will flow into your life to be happy and grateful for.

If we reverse this the same thing happens. If you feel like there is nothing to be grateful for – what are you focused on? You're focused on everything you don't want, everything you don't have, and what then do you think you’ll attract into your experience? More of what you don't want. There is so much to be grateful for.

As you hear this, there are people who are taking their final breaths. Taking their final breaths on this planet. Looking back at their lives and wishing they could have done more. Meanwhile, we are here, we are alive, breathing air, our hearts pumping, our brain whirring. Experiencing it all, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. So if you're looking for something to be grateful for; how about starting with that.