Vol 10 No. 41 Reflections on Fall

Dear Friends,

I want to reaffirm and reintroduce three portions of scripture (there are many examples, but these are meaningful to me) on the theme of Thanksgiving. 

The first is Psalm 105:1-5

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

The second is Psalm 103.  Bless the Lord oh my Soul and all that is within me – bless his holy name…

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

(I would remind and perhaps annoy some of you to the point of irritation when I comment that Psalm 103 is a psalm going back 6 generations on my mothers side and read annually at Bell family gatherings.)

And thirdly, the classic piece with Jesus, the lepers and the thankful Samaritan in Luke 17:11-19 (I always enjoy replacing the word ‘Samaritan’ with another group).

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

In my better moments, I am thankful.  They are the most significant times of personal prayer when I spend a considerable amount of time giving thanks to God.  Oh, I’m thankful everyday but not in the substantive sense that I should be.  This is partly indicative in the fact that I have not spoken about Thanksgiving since the last newsletter 51 weeks ago…  I need say very little more about this topic except that as we enter this Thanksgiving weekend as solo members of a household, in our community of faith, with family or with friends – may we be thankful. 

I have known some households to lay out the entire Thanksgiving dinner and then some bright spark decides that before we begin to eat, and even have a prayer, we will go around the table and ask people what they are thankful for… as the food gets progressively colder.  It has the effect on me to make me less thankful, not more so… and extremely grumpy.  Yet, there is a place within the conversation around a meal this weekend for thanking God.  I would be fascinated to hear some of the ways you have discovered to do that.

Happy Thanksgiving


In Christ,