This is the short message I shared last night at a thanksgiving service:
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
27 These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;
28 when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!
Grace and peace to you, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Each and every year, we celebrate a holiday where we gather to give thanks. Most of the holidays established by our government are set up to remember and thank the heroic people who lived in our country and sought to make it great.
But this holiday, this Thanksgiving, we don’t thank the people of our country.
Yes, we thank those who work hard to provide us with the food we eat, but the holiday was established to thank God for the countless blessings we have.
We join in the long-standing tradition of those who give thanks.
We can read countless speeches and prayers written by people in previous generations, centuries, millennia and know that we are simply joining them in praising and thanking God for the gift of life, for the gift of food, for the gift of abundance.
Each year around the harvest, I am always amazed at how much bounty comes from the earth.
I may not be a farmer or even a farmer’s daughter, so I don’t really know how much a bushel actually looks like, how much it weighs, or how much soybean oil or cornmeal can come from a single bushel, let alone an entire field full of plants.
But I do know that each year we get to reap the miraculous amounts of food that comes out of God’s good earth. I never cease to be amazed that God can take the dirt and a seed that appears dead and bring forth life and multiply what we had.
Those who attempt to grow food understand very well that something far greater than them is in charge of what plants need in order to grow and produce food.
No matter how much we try, we cannot take full credit for the harvest.
We can do what we can as we prepare soil, plant seeds, fertilize, irrigate/water, and then harvest.
But we did not create the soil or the seed. And we do not control the sun and wind and rain.
So we thank the one who does.
I know that we are to be grateful for the many blessings we have: family, friends, food, life, health, wellbeing.
Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to God.
And so we gather tonight to give thanks.
Tomorrow many of us will be with our close family or friends, taking time to share a meal with our loved ones. We may stuff our bellies full of good food and be happy with the blessings around us.
But I also want you to remember those who are not so blessed. Whether they might not have much food or they might not be able to spend the day with their loved ones, may we pray for them and remember to be extra grateful for the blessings we have been given.
May we learn to share our abundance as we thank the God who provides for us.
Thanks be to God, who created the world, gives growth to plants, and watches over our lives. Amen
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