Drop files to upload.
Faithlife Corporation

To What do we owe this Thanks

Notes & Transcripts

lass=MsoNormal>I speak to you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Amen 

When I was kid – and I was going over to a friend’s house – or invited out with someone other than my family

            The last words out of my mom’s mouth would inevitably be “remember your p’s and q’s”

My mom, being English – this was her way of saying “remember your manners” –

Specifically “remember your Pleases and Thank yous”

You see, I think that it was my mom’s belief that if you said “please” and remembered to say “thank you” that all would be well with the world

            We kids would not embarrass our parents

And they would feel that they had raise thoughtful, respectful children ... as long as our manners were intact

Well, today is, of course, Thanksgiving Sunday, and with that is our yearly reminder to remember our manners and to be thankful for all that we are blessed with

And our readings for today are chosen specifically because they all convey a message of thankfulness

You, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.(Deut 26:11b)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. (Psalm 100: 4)

15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:15-16)

 

In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6b)

Each one tells a different story – each is a different segment in the journey of God’s relationship with humankind

            But each draws attention to a thankful heart

                        And it is clear that each elevates thankfulness as a righteous attitude

So, maybe my mom’s belief that if you remembered to say “thank you” that all would be well with the world… was indeed: holy righteous instruction

Righteous – not in the self-serving ‘holier-than-thou’ sense

But righteous in the sense that it makes us right with God

Our examples today are not isolated rare occurrences – but the ethos of ‘thankfulness’ is a re-occurring drumbeat throughout the whole bible

            And I would argue it is a fundamental layer for understanding the first and great commandment

And the first commandment is the foundation on which all other commandments and instructions are grounded

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (Deut 5:6)

Here God is reminding us who God is and what God has done for us

God is evoking in His listeners a sense of appreciation … and with that, the response that comes is ‘thankfulness’

 It is a very simple message – but our human nature is so prone to forget it

Again, and again God calls people to remember who God is… and, again and again God reminds His forgetful people what He has done for us

            It happens throughout the first part of the Old Testament, knows as ‘the law’, the first five books

It happens dramatically in the next part, which is know as ‘the History’, in the very lives of the people, in Judges, Kings and Chronicles

It is the main message that God is repeatedly trying to convey to the wayward ‘chosen people’ through the message of the prophets

God is God… and we are not

Remember all that God has done for you – physically in the past, but more importantly spiritually in the present – bringing us out of slavery – the slavery that is sin…

…and be thankful…

Let’s look at each of our key verses a little closer

You, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.(Deut 26:11b)

In Moses’ sermon, which we know as Deuteronomy, his parting message to the Israelites that have been wandering in the dessert for 40 years and are just about to cross over into the promised land

            Moses reminds them – teaches them for a second time – how they are to live...

                        And he reminds them of all that God has done for them

                                    And then he guides them into thankfulness …and with that celebration

This is the beginning for the ceremony known as the ‘festival of the first fruits’ – and it is one of the three great pilgrimage feasts of our Hebrew spiritual ancestors

            The other two are ‘the Feast of booths’ and ‘the Passover’

All major feasts are celebrations of God’s saving work in our lives

And it is this drawing us back into the story – that evokes in us this sense of thanksgiving

- to ‘the one’ we are blessed by

God shows us that it is hardly possible to command someone to be thankful… but thankfulness – and with that hospitality to others – will be evoked if one meditates on the history of salvation.

Psalm 100 has this to say: Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. (Psalm 100: 4)

This psalm is one of only a few (also 30 & 102) in which its use is noted in the superscription for the occasion of presentation of a ‘thank offering”

            This is liturgical instruction – worship notes for how to celebrate as community in the temple

The ‘thanksgiving offering’ had to be completely consumed on that one day

Which meant that extravagance was a requirement in this joyful celebration

                        There is instruction to ‘make a joyful noise’ – to sing – to celebrate

                                    And there are two motives of this celebration

                                    The first stresses God and the creator and provider of all blessings

                                                It is anchored in a theology of creation

And the second offers humanity the reason … which is God’s fidelity in history

Again, God is God… and we are not

Remember all that God has done for you –in the past, and also in the present – releasing you into salvation …and be thankful… celebrating as a community

Community is such an important aspect of our lives, and our Gospel reading tells a story about that

            You see in ancient times leprosy was a much feared disease

                        Nearly every society feared it, and those that were infected by it

They were isolated from the rest of the people – forced by law, religious and civil, to live outside of town, away from others and subjected to survive only by the charity from others, when they risked potential punishment, as they begged

Luke tells us that “On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.(Luke 17:11)

And while approaching or entering the outskirts of a village – He is met by 10 lepers – who call upon his mercy to heal them – Jesus responds

        “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean.(Luke 17:14b)

Jesus restores them to the community – healing them physically, but most importantly restoring their lives into the lives of others

            Providing them salvation – making them whole to be with others

15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:15-16)

And here is our thanksgiving message from the Gospel of Luke today

It is a teaching what Jesus reveals as, the way to respond to God’s saving work

Shockingly, It is the outsider that teaches ‘the people of God’ what faith is… what praise is… and what thanksgiving is…

                                                It is the message to “remember our p’s and especially our q’s

And lastly we have our timeless message from the pen of St. Paul to the Philippians, which I want to explore this morning

            It is a very short passage (4 verses) from a generally very positive letter

[Paul liked the Philippians and had good things to say to them]

In it, we can find a very simple straightforward set of advice - from which we can model our whole life as Christians – a simple rule of life – the application of the message… Paul instructs us to:

Rejoice                        Be a witness                Don’t worry                Pray

And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7)

God will provide the peace of Jesus the Christ          - beyond all our understanding

                        God’s message for the feast of thanksgiving is peace, and tells us all we need

Step one - “rejoice in the Lord always” and in case we didn’t get it clear enough, Paul repeats himself and says “again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4)

            Rejoicing is a key-note of this letter

The idea then is to keep on rejoicing in the Lord at all times, regardless of what may come upon you.

The key to understanding Paul's exhortation to rejoice is that it is "in the Lord."

This signifies that the Lord is either the object of our rejoicing or its grounding, the one in whom our joy thrives.             

                                                            This is of course a part of what we do by coming to Church

                                                                        We celebrate               and worship                and rejoice

                                                                                    in what God, the Father - creator,

                                                                                    God the Son - redeemer/saviour

                                                                                    and God the Holy Spirit - sanctifier

                                                                                                - has done for us

It is not limited to Church and we carry this feeling beyond

            A life lived in reflection and awareness of what God has truly done for us

                        Is a life lived - “rejoicing in the Lord always

Step two - “Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near”(Philippians 4:5)

            We are called to be a witness of the fact that the Lord is near

                        God came as a man to live as one of us, we are created in the image of God

and God left behind the comforter - the Holy Spirit

                                                - God is near

What will bring Christ into people’s hearts at this time of thanksgiving or anytime - is if you are a witness that attracts others

            If you “Let your gentleness be known to everyone”

                        People will be attracted by the power of Christ working in you

                                    You may even have the blessing of someone asking you why in the                                                 midst of all the craziness that surrounds this holiday season

                                                - the cooking               - getting the house ready for guests

                                                - or in the preparations to travel to someone else’s home

                                                            Why you are able to let your gentleness shine through?

                                                                        Then you can tell them about who you rejoice in

Step three - “Be anxious about nothing” (Philippians 4:6a)

           

Don’t worry…

            To all that life throws at you - “don’t worry!”

                        Seems like simplistic advice - and improbable to fulfill

                                    But it was the same advice that Jesus offered on the ‘Sermon on the Mount’

 

“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”(Matthew 6:27-29)

 

We don’t need to worry because of Step four - how Paul finishes the message

 

In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6b)

The Philippians are urged, as a corrective to their anxiety, to let their specific requests be made known to God.

Step four is simply to Pray

            Pray in everything

                        Share with God everything

                                    Accept God’s offer to be ‘in community’ with you - and talk to God

                                                Let the light of God shine into even the darkest corners of your heart

“And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds…”

            God’s Blessing is the “peace of God”

                        Beyond all knowledge

                                    Beyond knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology

                                    Beyond archeology

                                    Beyond physiology

                                                Beyond all the ologies

            The peace of God surpasses all understanding

                        Christ - Messiah - Saviour

                                    Comes into our hearts (our emotions) and our minds (our thoughts)

                                                Passes by all our worries,

                                                            All our doubts, all our anxieties

So…

Rejoice            - Be a witness              - Don’t worry              - Pray

Remembering all that God has done for you –in the past, and also in the present – releasing you into salvation …and be thankful… Amen

RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
Get this media plus thousands more when you start a free trial.
Get started for FREE
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →