The bible says: ‘This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad’ (Psalm 118:24).

There’s much to be thankful for on this day. For life. For love. For family. For friends. For food, shelter and work. And today, being a Sunday, people from across the world are gathering with others to take their eyes off themselves and focus on the good God who not only provides but loves them, sent Christ to die for them, and who fills them with the Spirit of life.

Here are three historical things to be thankful for on this day – on 26th August.

– On this day in the year 1498 Michelangelo was commissioned to carve the Pieta, in St Peter’s Rome. A piece of brilliance and of great cultural significance, this beautiful carving of Mary holding the dead body of Jesus is the only statue he ever signed.

– On this day in 1910, Mother Theresa was born – a woman who worked tirelessly in Calcutta caring for the poorest people. She reminded us that ‘If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one’.

– On this day in the year 580, the Chinese invented toilet paper. Be grateful for that!

In the midst of our reflections today, if this year is similar to the last couple of years, be aware of three more sobering things about ‘this day’.

– 438 Christians will be matryred today. They’ll be murdered simply for being followers of Jesus Christ.

– 20 people will die today of alcohol-related deaths in the UK.

– 5 people will die today on UK roads.

What a world we live in. Full of joys and sorrows. Ups and downs. And following Jesus doesn’t insure us against difficulty on this day, but it does give us a whole new perspective on life and why we’re here. It reminds us, that in the midst of the mess of the world, God hasn’t given up. Far from it. He is bringing change and transformation. And he wants to use us to do that – on ‘this day’.

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus encourages us to ask – on ‘this day’ – for ‘daily bread’ – for provision for the day. So don’t be afraid to ask him for what you need. Today.

Jesus also tells us to pray today that God’s kingdom will break in to our world. Here ‘on earth, as it is in heaven.’ So pray that too. And then live out that prayer. Through your actions and our words. On this day.

Over two billion people will be praying the Lord’s Prayer today, praying: ‘Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ Will you be one of them?