Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving As An Act of Faith

There are many things and many people for whom I will be thanking God this year, but there's a sense that, this year, we are experiencing this holiday in a way that is, perhaps, more true, more honest, more connected with real life.

The first American Thankgiving and the various thanksgivings in the Bible (including one in Deuteronomy 26) occur when something good has happened, that's true, but while the future is in doubt. 

In a minor way, we can resonate with that this year.  Last year I celebrated Thanksgiving as pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato.  I had no idea that I would be unemployed this year and living thanks to a transitional support agreement.  We have food, shelter, and everything else we need, but we don't know how things will be tomorrow.  It's uncertain.  But still, we will give thanks.

Always and everywhere, Thanksgiving is truly an act of faith.  It's an act of faith because we give thanks to the God whom we cannot see.  And it's an act of faith because we don't know, except through faith, that things will turn out, in the end, in a way that are worth giving thanks for.

Because of Jesus, and his death and resurrection for us, we know that someday, all will be well.  We will keep that in mind as we celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Deuteronomy 26
    “When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. 3 And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4 Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.
    5 “And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. 6 And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. 7 Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8 And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. 9 And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God. 11 And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you."

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