Happy Thanksgiving!

        Most people are raised to say “thank you” whenever they receive a gift.  And if the young child fails, it is prompted with, “What do you say?”  So for most adults, “Thank you” becomes an automatic response to gifts received.  The national holiday of Thanksgiving this month is a kind of “What do you say to God?” prompting for all the material gifts we have received.  The yearly reminder is helpful. 

     When we think of giving thanks and praise to God, the focus tends to be on the blessings the individual has received.  Personalizing the need to give thanks serves to remind one that he or she has been blessed with visible health, peace, or prosperity.  We remember that we are all beggars before God, and whatever good we receive comes from his beneficent hand.  Praising       God serves to keep us alert to the newness and wonder of his mercy toward us.

     When, however, God removes the visible signs of his grace, then we need to remember that his grace has not disappeared with the signs.  Where once the signs stood in God’s place, now God himself stands in the place of the signs.   Many people suffer without receiving those gifts that are visible signs of God’s blessing.  They are the ones who have nothing in heaven and earth but God himself.   When we join them in their need or pray with them in their suffering, the congregation supports the individual and attends to him or her.  And in our praise they are not forgotten.  The psalmist (34:2-3) who has prayed and received God’s assistance, invites those who are afflicted to join him in praising God.  We remain connected with those who have nothing but God himself.  They are not forgotten.  For all of Christ’s people hold on to his promise that they are heard.   The one who prays is confident of being heard even if one does not see one’s wishes fulfilled.  So the psalmist offers the encouraging word:  “Look on Him, then your face will shine.  And you will never be confounded.” (Ps 34:5)

     Words of thanksgiving and praise acknowledge that I am a creature of God and the others in the congregation are fellow creatures, all of us, beggars dependent on God.    And in a much deeper sense thanksgiving is demonstrated as we attend to each other and pray with one another, ever looking to our Father in Christ to supply our daily need.    Our best thanksgiving shows itself in our daily depending on him who deeply cares for us in Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving!      

  - Pastor Rex