Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column + Preaching Schedule

November 2013: "Some Thoughts on Thanksgiving"

Dear Church,

Turkey Day arrives this month, and everything that goes with it: football, family, Black Friday, and so on. It's a jam-packed weekend for a lot of us, especially if we have particular family traditions we celebrate year in and year out.

But on this Thanksgiving, I want to focus not on the "thanks" part, but on the "giving" part that comes after "thanks." After all, it is one thing to be thankful--to say "thank you," to express gratitude, to feel grateful. It is another thing entirely to act on it. A lot of us will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast, but how are we to express our thanks next to someone who does not have enough to eat? We will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving in a home--whether ours or somebody else's--but how should we say thanks alongside someone who lives on the streets? Surely it can't be by doing all things I listed earlier: the football, the turkey, the Black Friday shop-a-thon.

No, we can do all those things on Thanksgiving, but we cannot do *only* those things on Thanksgiving. We cannot limit Thanksgiving to that. We do it a disservice, and we do ourselves a disservice. It is very much Christian to express one's thanks by doing something. A leper is healed by Jesus, and he falls at Jesus' feet and worships Him. Mary, sister of Lazarus, anoints Jesus' feet with oil in part, I have to think, as a symbol of gratitude and appreciation. And there are innumerable stories throughout the church's history of Christians expressing gratitude for something done for them by in turn doing something else for others.

I can't point to something and say, "That is thanks" the same way I can point to a chair and say, "That is chair." But what I--and you--can do is point to something and say, "That is something that has been given from thanks." How can you give--in the most literal sense of the term--thanks to God and to one another on this Thanksgiving?

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

"The Screwtape Sermons: Exploring Scripture with C.S. Lewis" sermon series, continued 

November 3: “The Screwtape Letters,” Philippians 1:27-2:4 

November 10: “Mere Christianity,” Philippians 2:5-11 

November 17: “The Great Divorce,” John 12:44-50 

November 24: “Freud’s Last Session,” John 3:1-10

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