Once again we have come to another Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving here at Zion is much more likened to a harvest festival in which we return thanks to the Lord who has given us another year to serve Him in providing the people of this world food to eat.
We have again experienced the four seasons which are so critical and significant to our farming community. There is first, the dormancy of winter in which the world around us sleeps and enters hibernation. But with the emergence of spring comes the hope of another season. Planting leads to growth and maturation in summer which gives way to the harvest of autumn. Each year has its own challenges and this year has had its own. How should we view this year’s harvest? Let us consider these realities.
- Through the kindness of God we have again received the fruit of the earth in their season. Having called upon our Lord we are drawn to the many blessings which flow from His mighty hand. We recall His kindness. His blessings. The richness of His grace. His forgiveness. These we do not deserve – yet, He lavishes them upon us - because He is kind and gentle toward us. This is His nature. He can do nothing else.
As He acts on our behalf we have again received the fruits of the earth. True, our farmers put in many hard and long hours. Fields don’t plant themselves. And someone has to work the harvest. Your work is important. Tremendously important. And yet we find a significant and profound truth. It is the Lord who multiplies and gives the increase. He sends the rain at the proper time. He sends the sunshine. Everything is fixed according to His timetable.
And the harvest which is received comes at the proper time in their season. The Lord has promised that there will always be a crop. Though we may often times go through cycles of adversity and challenge that Lord has promised there will always be another growing season. The land lays dormant now. Just as Advent leads to Christmas and the discipline of Lent segues into Easter so also the death of winter will only give birth to spring, The Lord promises “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will not cease.” – Genesis 8:22
- Our prayer should be that we rejoice in Christ’s mercy. Without the Lord we have nothing. Without His sustaining hand we are left living a life which is dictated to chance. Without His hand ordering our days and guiding our path we are left to circumstances directing our life. We need a balanced life. It is Christ which brings this balance.
- Our prayer should be that neither prosperity nor adversity would drive us from Christ’s presence.
A. So that neither prosperity in times of plenty, both when the stock market is climbing, and the prices are souring. When yields are high and dividends are increasing.
B. Nor adversity – such as the time in which we live today when the future is not so certain when the experts try to explain that we are entering into uncharted waters, where the solution is uncertain.
C. We pray that these may never drive us from Jesus’ presence. Instead we look to the Lord for direction and life. David reminds us in Psalm 46 “God is our refuge and d strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
By adopting gratitude, we can discover God’s abundance. Gratitude takes math out of the equation. When gratitude replaces anxiety, even when we find we have less than we had during our worry days, gratitude reveals that we have far more than we need.
“Look at the birds of the air,” says Jesus. “Consider the lilies of the field.” Jesus wasn’t being idealistic. He was being practical. Worry will not add one inch to your stature. Nor can you extend you life through worry. Medical science however has shown that by not worrying, we can add to our life span. We don’t have to worry about our lives day to day – what we are going to eat or drink or wear? Nor do we have to worry about our children’s needs. All we have to do is say thank you, knowing that what needs to happen will, and the rest is not all that important. Gratitude is the secret.
- Of course, we always pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
A. Who lives and reigns - For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water, And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.- Revelation 7:17
B. With You and the Holy Spirit. Blessed by the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity. Let us give glory to Him because He has shown His mercy to us. -Liturgical Text from the Introit for Trinity Sunday
C. One God, now and forever. With the evangelist John we can say Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our god forever and ever. Amen -Revelation 7:12
D. Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. Place yourselves under each other's authority out of respect for Christ. -Ephesians 5:18-21
Lord God heavenly Father, through whose kindness we have again received the fruits of the earth in their season, grant us ever to rejoice in Your mercy that neither prosperity nor adversity may drive us from Your presences. This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen -A Blessed Thanksgiving - in Jesus’ Name.
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