Archive for November 28th, 2019

The first article of the Apostles’ Creed is, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”.  This sums up the immense Biblical doctrine of the Creator and His creation.  His creation is everything we see, hear, smell, taste and touch.  It is in God’s good creation we work, live, play, study, have families, and bless or curse both God and our neighbor. This article both warms the heart and should terrify us.  It terrifies because daily we sin, “…with eyes, ears, hands, body and soul, money and possessions, and with everything we have, especially those who even fight against the Word of God.” We forget the warm blessings of the Lord giving us all this, and most times without our asking for them.  Everything is gift. Both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther knew both the problem and promise in  our reception of these gifts and the thanks due to the Lord in  giving us all these gifts, the just and the unjust.

The problem:  we take these things for granted. We strut about as if we made all this,

For if we believed the article of creation with the heart, we would also act accordingly, and not stalk about proudly, act defiantly, and boast as though we had life, riches, power, and honor, etc., of ourselves, so that others must fear and serve us, as is the practice of the wretched, perverse world…

In the midst of the Civil War, it seemed there was  not much to give thanks for, as the body count rose and rose.  We must not forget that more Americans died during the Civil War, that is both North and South as both sides were Americans, than in any of our other wars: the death toll was about 750,000, and given the smaller population, the Civil War has the highest percentage of Americans who died in any of our wars. Lincoln marveled at the Lord’s blessings meriting our nation’s due thanks, without our merit (Luther) and in spite of our “national perverseness”, so Lincoln. And President Lincoln did not point his finger at the South and wrote, “OUR national perverseness”.  Or just plain perverseness that we think we made the heavens and the earth.

The promise is plain as every atom is the Creator’s gift for us all. Did anyone here asked to be born? The Lord made you.  

And so God commands, exhorts encourages us to thank Him. Boy, does the Lord ever have an ego!  No, He has neither  ego nor pride for He is without sin.  He can take our praise and adoration without blushing or preening. And now in a fallen creation, He so commands us to give thanks because He knows we have an ego!  We are commanded, exhorted and encouraged in the Bible to give thanks.

And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. (Deut. 8)

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people…(1Timothy1)

…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4)

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!(Psalm 107)

President Washington also proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving in 1789, as, “…it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor…”. For all these gifts Luther taught that we, “…Christians have this advantage, that they acknowledge themselves in duty bound to serve God for all these things, and to be obedient to Him which the world knows not how to do.” Thanksgiving is our duty as we are duty bound to serve God in all these things. Please note that Luther and Lincoln and Washington all used the word “duty” when it comes to thanksgiving.  

We are duty bound as every Sunday, every feast and festival day is a day of Thanksgiving.  We give thanks for what we have been given and have, but also who has us:  The Lord, and our husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, dear friends. We give thanks for our neighbors’ blessings as well.

The Christians’ praise and thanksgiving starkly contrasts the world.  For we give thanks not only for the Lord’s creation but also His redemption for the world, in the blood of His Son, for God so loved the world, a thankless world to redeem us to be thanksgiving people.  One of the names for Holy Communion is eucharist, from the Greek: thanksgiving, thanksgiving for His Body and Blood. We need the praise and thanksgiving of the Church, in prayer and hymn, in our lives, more than ever is this world bent in on patting itself on the back. The world does not how to give thanks. As the Lord teaches us to praise aright, once lost in the night, may the Lord teach others of His light.

Luther, Washington and Lincoln, knew how to so give thanks and it’s duty for they all drew from and were taught from the same original source:  the Scriptures which shows us our sin and proclaims our Creator and Redeemer. All sinners need to be taught to give thanks. I heard it as a child and heard my self saying to my children: Grandma gives us a gift, What do you say to Grandma?  Just passing the salt, what do you say, Thank-you. It is the receiving of great gifts, in the midst of very hard times, the thankfulness becomes acute for our souls.  Luther, Washington and Lincoln all knew sinfulness and the duty and need for thankfulness which humbles as the Lord has given us so much to be thankful for. The Lord calls us in His steadfast love, even to His death, and risen from the dead: to love our neighbor, and in faith is our God-given duty to give our neighbors something to be thankful for.  But, Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! (Psalm 115).

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (St. Matthew 5)

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