• Servants Feast

Real Cause for Thanks


Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord, Let’s shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.

Let’s come before His presence with a song of thanksgiving, Let’s shout joyfully to Him in songs with instruments, for the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods,

In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are also His.

The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let’s worship and bow down, Let’s kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

- Psalm 95:1-7a


Thinking about Thanksgiving Day, I decided to make a list of all the things for which I am grateful. Jesus showed us only about one in ten remembers to be grateful. While true, I figure within each of us, we remember to be thankful about ten percent of the time. Just speculation, but I know that’s how I am. So, I’ve been intentionally trying to remember to thank the Lord for all that He has done and is doing in me, for me, around me, among those I love, and so forth. I’m probably up to about fifteen percent these days. Sad, but true…


With Thanksgiving Day looming, however, I sat down to make a serious list, as opposed to a half-hearted list. After a minute or two, I wrote down, “2020 is almost over.” I look back over the year and can only hope the next one won’t be like it. We’ve had hurricanes, disease, violence, death, and a highly contentious election that just won’t end. Did you realize that it has been exactly 400 years since the Mayflower journey to Plymouth? That is the sort of thing that is being cancelled, so I suspect celebrating the pilgrims’ arrival in the “new land” is considered offensive. Yet, if I were an Old Testament prophet, I might make a connection between the opportunities for religious freedom, our distortion and perversion of the Gospel, and the 400-year anniversary of the first pilgrims’ arrival on these shores being a year of relentless misery. Just sayin… That thought has crossed my mind more than once.


I’m not the only one ready for this year to end. Honestly compels me to share, though, when I was younger – much younger, I used to tell myself, “Next year has to be better.” With the experience that comes with age, I know that is not true. Things can always get worse, and, frankly, I suspect that just might happen in the coming year.


Human sin and its complicity with evil, wittingly or not, means that there is almost nothing we will not do to attain that which we want. This has been true since the beginning of time, and laws, education, medicine, technology, wealth, power, and all the rest of the measures of “civilized” life today, will not change our basic nature. If anything, recent advancements, so called, have just made it easier for us to demean and harm one another. I am not even talking about politics here, but rather, the passion to rule, the urge to dominate and manipulate, which seem so omnipresent in American culture today. To be sure, these are reflected in the political arena, but such inclinations are irrevocably present in all of us. I, for example, want to be in charge so I can rule that stupid people can’t talk. In all fairness, many of those to whom I do not want to listen just as certainly do not want to hear anything I say. And that is where we find ourselves today – divided, distrustful, cynical, angry, and, sadly, without much hope for changing the rending fabric of our society.


Are y’all ready for Thanksgiving now? We should be. Christians have more cause to be thankful than we could possibly ever deserve. How many of us know what else we celebrate this week? Sunday was Christ the King Sunday, the day on which the church and Christians celebrate the victory of Jesus Christ over sin, evil, and death, as well as anticipate the fulfillment of Christ’s eternal reign in the age to come. It is the last Sunday of the Christian year, and Advent follows naturally behind it. Advent is the season of waiting for the Lord to come. We are inclined to make Advent all about the arrival of the Baby Jesus, the Son of God born in flesh to the Virgin Mary. In reality, Advent begins the cycle of the Christian year again, and that cycle begins with waiting for Jesus Christ to return. We can celebrate His birth, but we are to be eagerly awaiting His return.


Some years lend themselves to looking forward to Christ’s return. As a friend phrased it, “Jesus needs to come on back now and wrap this sucker up!” But God’s timing is known to Him and is perfectly determined by purposes we cannot fully understand, if we understand at all. One thing is certain, Christians have lived through worse than what we experience now.


The Christian calendar is losing ground in many churches today, and I think we make a mistake when we do not celebrate more holy days than Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. The function of the Christian calendar is to remind all of us that we are participating in a life that exists beyond this moment. Isn’t that pretty much what we need right now? Don’t we need to know that political victories, whether one’s party wins or loses, are not ultimate victories? There is more to life than we can see now, more than we can possibly imagine, and that Kingdom is our home, our destiny.


Mother Maria Skobtsova (now Saint Maria) was a Russian nun living in Paris before being arrested and martyred at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in 1945. In a book of her essays published posthumously, she wrote, “Human history is placed before the choice: either the triumph of the economic and political order, of humdrum philistine well-being, of three-dimensional space and time stretched out like a string; or the acceptance of eternity, of wings, the realization here of what is conceived there…” Can we not see that we have settled for a humdrum philistine well-being? Too many of us have been seduced by the ease of life in our nation, and as tensions mount, we forget that we have been given wings to lift us beyond this moment, beyond our fears and worries. We no longer realize here what God has conceived there where Christ is King.


Mother Maria continues on, “[T]his fleshly world given to us does not constitute the whole of reality, beyond it something else begins, governed by different laws, the kingdom of Caesar will have to give way to the Kingdom of God, time will vanish into eternity, the heavy gates will be opened wide to receive all mankind, and for the sake of this longed-for hour the whole of history has existed, for it our human creativity has existed, by it our suffering will be justified, our struggle hallowed. The hour will come and lightning will flash from one end of the earth to the other, and the Son of Man will come in all His glory to judge the living and the dead.”


Really kind of minimizes the enormity of our troubles, doesn’t it? When time vanishes into eternity and the gates of the Kingdom are opened wide, do you think we will care who won the election in 2020? This territorialism and rage, the cultivation of animosity among races, the breeders of hatred and division, all will be silenced at His appearing. We will be silent, as well, for we shall then see ourselves as we truly are, not nearly as important as we imagine, not even close to as smart as we think we are, for the accomplishments in time will fade before eternity.


What we do today matters enormously, but not for the reasons that most of us think. Mother Maria died in a concentration camp for providing false baptismal papers to Jews in France. We want to be that kind of Christian, one whose actions reflect well on Christ and serve as a light to the world, not the kind who cuddle in a warm blanket of Christian symbolism and language. Her actions mattered for every person her life touched, and we are called to be the same. The laws and rules by which we are governed are those of Christ’s Kingdom.


Let every Christian be filled with gratitude this Thanksgiving. Do not waste time with things over which you have no control. We can love. We have hope. Our God is good. The Gospel still saves. For those burdened in darkness and despair, there is still a resurrection coming. We have so much for which to be grateful!


Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord, Let’s shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.

Let’s come before His presence with a song of thanksgiving, Let’s shout joyfully to Him in songs with instruments, for the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods,

In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are also His.

The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let’s worship and bow down, Let’s kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.


What more do we really need? We are the people of our Lord’s pasture. Our Lord is the King above all gods. There is no cause for despair. Let hope abound and let us shout joyfully to the Lord and sing songs of thanksgiving! Christ is King! He reigns, and we belong to Him.


Happy Thanksgiving!


In Christ –


Rev. Elizabeth Moreau

Copyright 2020

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