Resurrection Lutheran Church of Dublin

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Resurrection Lutheran Church of Dublin
7557 Amador Valley Blvd, Dublin, CA 94568 | resluth@pacbell.net | 925.828.1580

 

A Word from Our Pastor

Giving With Thanks..

With November comes the dark, days are shorter, hopefully the rain comes with it and the Holidays are truly on us. Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year seem to both delight us and overwhelm us at the same time. Overwhelmed with the preparations yet delighted as we see old friends and family, some of whom we haven’t seen for years. In scripture thanksgiving is a big theme that is spread throughout the Old and New Testament.

 

In the Old Testament, especially the Psalms giving thanks is a formula that tells us the very nature of God. For example: Psalm 107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast
love endures forever. God is good and for that alone deserves our thanks, But this description of
God goes even further than that, the Psalmist claims that God’s steadfast love endures forever. What does it mean when you say that some ones’ love endures forever? First of all it should give us
confidence. It is like that passage in Romans where Paul tells us that nothing in heaven or earth can
separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We are loved and there are no doubts about it. We can do good or ill with our lives and this will not change. That is pretty intimidating in its own way. God chooses to be faithful, we are free to choose to abandon the God who loves us. The word forever here is truly significant. Personally it is from this single word, forever, that I have placed my hope in the resurrection. I will live, as long as God holds me in love in the heart of God and that is forever. God’s steadfast love is eternal life. It is such a simple statement yet it is at the very center of all the reasons we should give thanks. But it certainly does not include everything.

 

Another example of giving thanks from the Psalmist is from Psalm 30; Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. 5 For his anger is but for a moment; his
favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. It contains more of the gritty quality of our lives. In our experience not everything goes our way. Grief, anger, despair even loss of faith are all a part of our lives. But with God love is stronger and as the Psalmist assures us joy comes with the morning. Hope is the thread that ties our life together and as one great hymn tells us “our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” God’s steadfast love is founded on action as well as promise. It is not pie in the sky but a lived out love and faithfulness to which we can respond throughout our lives.

 

There is more to giving thanks than just a response to the goodness and grace of God and the people around us. It is an act that builds character. Not giving thanks implies that we are totally self-sufficient and whatever grace or gift we might have been shown is totally deserved, a response to our worthy stature and actions. In a way it is a declaration of ourselves as a god. When we give thanks we acknowledge the truth that we are totally dependent on God and the people around us for our life and well-being. The first thanks giving in America is a good example of this. However much this story of the pilgrims and the Indians has been fictionalized at the core the truth is still there. The new settlers in the Massachusetts colony could never have survived without help from God and the Native Americans.

 

We are taught from our earliest years to say please and thank you. It is not mere politeness it is an act that places us in a right relationship with God and our neighbors. It is and act that changes us and makes us whole for we cannot exist in this universe alone. Giving thanks ties us to God and one another and gives us that sure and certain hope that Christ died to bring to us.

 

As we prepare for the Holidays this year remember that all your work is an act of love and thanks and serves to unite us together as a family whose hope is firmly centered in our God whose steadfast love endures forever.


Pastor Jim Bliss
November 2014