Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving leads Progress

Living in the Spirit
September 20, 2017

Scripture Reading: Psalm 105;1-6, 37-45

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
   make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
   tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name;
   let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
   seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done,
   his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
O offspring of his servant Abraham,
   children of Jacob, his chosen ones. —Psalm 105;1-6

We are reminded regularly by Psalmist and others to give thanks to God for God’s fidelity in love and fulfilling all that the Lord has promised. Why do we say or sing praises to God in the short term while quickly moving to an attitude of “What have you done for me lately?’ Those of us who claim to be partners as the Body of Christ in effecting the Kingdom of God are particularly vexing when we get caught up in such an attitude. Shouldn’t our perspective be “We have reach a plateau where do you want us to go next.” Until the Kingdom is complete our work is not finished.

I love Romans 8:28:  We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. There was certainly nothing good about the Oklahoma City bombing but the good this city has experienced since then is amazing. The bombing helped us see what was important. Helped us get our priorities straight. We have a lot more work to do and we must continually remind ourselves of what is important.

The same is true of our work toward the Kingdom of God. We should not rely on tragedies or natural disasters to bring us together to find the oneness we need to make the world a better place for all its inhabitants. There is no place in the world for greed or lust for power. There is a place for wise investment of resources and skills, and leadership through servanthood targeted at God’s vision for God’s creation.

Prayer: We do give thanks to you, O Lord, for your steadfast love as we take the next steps to further your vision for all. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved

How Do We Love God?

Eastertide
April 25, 2017

Scripture Reading: Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

What shall I return to the Lord
   for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
   and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
   in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
   is the death of his faithful ones. –Psalm 116:12-15

We are called, commanded to love the Lord. How do we love God? The Psalmist guides us in loving God. Thanksgiving is always a good place to start. A toast is offered in God’s name to recognize the gift of God’s abiding love. I am a terrible card sender. I have a drawer full of cards I have purchased for people special to me that I have yet to send to anyone. But the lesson of sharing thanksgiving is not one to be ignored.

Keeping our commitments to God is another way of expressing our love for the Lord. What vows have we made to God? Worshiping and following God is always a choice. That may come as a surprise to some whose concept of God stems from others trying to cram faith down their throats choking them from knowing a loving Sovereign.  When we choose to accept Christ as our Savior we commit to a life-changing way of being. Some of us have taken the additional step of committing our lives to full-time Christian service as a means of loving God. Many exchange wedding vows before God to solidify the sacredness of the institution of marriage. Parents dedicate their lives to taking on one of the most important jobs anyone can have raising new generations of God’s children.

I recently attended the memorial service for one who indeed was a good and faithful servant. I thought of my own mother as I listened to the service. My mother died at the age of 98. She had served as a Deaconess in the Methodist Church during the depression in the mountains of West Virginia working with people in abject poverty before she met and married my father and raised three children. Even then her church work continued, teaching Sunday school, serving as secretary of the board, working with the quilters. She, unlike her youngest daughter, was an excellent card-sender. She spent the last year of her life unable to walk in a nursing home but her ministry continued as she prayed for everything and everyone.

The Psalmist says loving God is through thanksgiving, promise keeping, and loving others. It is a simple formula but tried and true.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for saving our souls, let your love poor through us as we keep our commitments to you loving others all along the way. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Praise and Thanksgiving

give-thanks-and-praiseChristmas
December 28, 2016

Scripture Reading: Psalm 148

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
   for his name alone is exalted;
   his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
   praise for all his faithful,
   for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord! –Psalm 148:13-14

It has been a tough year. Uncertainty and unease seem to rule our lives. Such times are good times to look back over the year and consider the things for which we are thankful and the things for which we praise God.

There are of course personal thanksgivings. I was thankful this very morning for waking without congested sinuses and am probably one of the few people who praises God for the first freeze of the fall, pollen be gone. I praise God for a wonderful brother and sister and their offspring from whom I gain great happiness.

I am thankful for an inclusive community of faith where I can worship God, study, and work together with others in addressing human need locally and throughout the world as we seek to love God and love like Jesus in all aspects of life. I praise God for our recently called new Associate Minister and our Senior Minister who strives every day to bring light into the world.

I praise God for the advocates with whom I work toward social justice, for their commitment to the least of these, and for their desire to make our world a place where all have enough living in safety and peace on a sustainable earth.

For what do you praise God, for what are you thankful?

Prayer: God of Justice and Mercy, thank you for your constant presence and guidance in our quest to be the Body of Christ in the world today. And most importantly, we praise you for giving us the gift of Love, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Restore Faith

PromiseAdvent
November 26, 2015

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. –1 Thessalonians 3:9-10

I have been rather grumbly of late. Overbooked myself this fall and yet, I do not feel I accomplished much at all. Oh, I did a lot, completing many tasks, meeting most deadlines, running hither and skitter. But did I do anything that actually made the world more just?

Much of my busyness was tied up about a week ago and for the first time in a few months I have had time to reflect on the outcomes of my work. I am a strong goal oriented person and I like to see the fruits of my labor. Do you think Abraham might have thought that also? He received the promise of God to be the father of a great nation but he only saw one, perhaps two generations of it. Hebrews 11:13a states All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them.

I do need to have my faith restored and Thanksgiving is a good time to see and celebrate the acts of God in our world today. I am thankful for the voices that speak love instead of hate. I am thankful for the missionary I met last year in Turkey who is today helping refugees, pregnant women and those with newborns from the Middle East, survive and thrive. I am thankful for interfaith groups that work to increase understanding. I am thankful for a President along with some Governors, Senators, Representatives, and other government officials willing to go against the wave of hysteria and seek lasting solutions that foster wholeness in our fragmented world. And most importantly, I am thankful that God sent Jesus Christ into the world and into my life to focus my vision beyond the little tasks I have been given as a part of his kingdom building. Let His kingdom come; His will be done.

Prayer:
Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.* Amen.

*First verse of Now Thank We All Our God by Martin Rinckart see at http://www.hymnary.org/text/now_thank_we_all_our_god

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.