7 sentence weekday sermon

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day is good! And relatively easy.
 
For today, the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, functions as something of a test of the authenticity and endurance of our gratitude. As bargains and buying, sales and rewards endlessly cascade over us, the challenge is to remain humbly grateful and grow in our thankfulness. Will we refuse to become forgetful and indifferent?
 
As we buy, let us continue to recall the One who alone makes such possible for us, and thank him, asking wisdom of him even as we buy. May we be found to “overflow with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4.2)

picture Bible commentary: pray/thankful

This time of year, late November, corresponds with the second line on this replica of the a found at Tel Gezer, Israel. This was a time of planting of grains in ancient Israel. The Gezer calendar dates from the time of the 10th century B.C.

 

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… you reap whatever you sow. … So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6.7,9)

links to 4 helpful articles

1. Why the Pilgrims were actually able to survive

“… despite the Pilgrims’ version of events – their survival largely hinged on two unrelated developments: an epidemic that swept through the region and a repository of advice from earlier explorers.”

2. What the first Thanksgiving dinner actually looked like

“The main course is the one scholars can speak about with certainty. … they were eating goose and duck rather than turkey. … venison likely had a prominent place alongside waterfowl on the first Thanksgiving table. … a side dish to the main course, a stew called sobaheg was most likely served. An easy way to make use of seasonal ingredients, the stew often included a mixture of beans, corn, poultry, squash, nuts and clam juice. … For carbs, look to cornbread, not potatoes. … the harvest of 1621 likely included beans, squash, onions, turnips and greens such as spinach and chard. All could have been cooked at length to create a pulpy sauce that later became a staple in early New England homes. … What about dessert? A regular supply of sugar or maple syrup wasn’t available in the area until much later.”

3. Psalm 23 Revisioned

“A Survivor’s Psalm: God is my shepherd. When I am afraid. When my soul feels lost, God keeps me in the green pastures near the cool water. God is the one who restores my aching soul. Even when I revisit deathly valleys, God remains with me. God alone holds my fear of evil, for God understands it like no other. In the presence of that evil, God feeds me, God anoints me; And I am satisfied. God’s steadfast loving kindness abides with me daily, And I will walk with God forever.”

4. Unexpected Ministry

“It is not our place as disciples in Christ’s ministry to cherry-pick who is valuable, worthy of being listened to or deemed to be part of our self-constructed sphere of interest. God created all people. Christ learned from and valued all people.”

links to 5 helpful articles

1. Why Worship Services are So Boring by Mike Glenn [essential reading]

“They’re bored. I know that. Here’s what else I know – It’s not my fault. And why isn’t it my fault? Aren’t I the one who’s in charge of worship? No, I’m not.”

2. Refugee Politics and a Tale of Two Thanksgivings [essential reading; how quickly we forget … and how slowly we repent]

“One national Gallup poll conducted in May 1975, just one month after the fall of Saigon, found that only 36 per cent of Americans surveyed favored the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees; 54 per cent of Americans surveyed opposed it. … Even a full decade after the end of the Vietnam War, a plurality of Americans believed that the United States had accepted too many refugees.”

3. How religious groups voted in the midterm elections

“White evangelical or born-again Christians backed Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives at about the same rate they did in 2014.”

4. Let Your Internet Yes Be Your Real-Life Yes: The Problem with Online Persona

“The persona allows us to say and do whatever it is our desired audience desires, whatever it takes in fact to maintain the persona and — fingers crossed — turn the persona into a brand. Meanwhile, the person shrinks, and his or her soul along with it.”

5. Homelessness, Step by Step

“… homelessness step by step through the eyes of several families, over the final months of last year.”

day 24 – put a psalm in my heart

Thanksgiving and praise, gratitude in song, is what we’re all about as we sit down with these three psalms today, Psalm 65-67. Imagine yourself as a worship leader as you read these psalms (especially the latter two) and see yourself worshiping God and calling others to join in.

Morning. Psalm 65. The focus is on the creation as a whole. If you’re a lover of sunsets and sunsets especially, I encourage you to think on vs. 8: “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.”

Mid-day. Psalm 66. The creation and experience of the people of Israel is this psalm’s focal point and what a story it is, no? Meditate on vs. 12: “You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.”

Tonight. Psalm 67. Hear the Shema (Num. 6.24-26) resound through it all. Fittingly, we can hear an echo of vs. 2 near the end of the book of Acts (cf. Acts 28.28) Consider and pray vs. 3: “May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.”