With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Micah 6:6-7(NIV)
Thanksgiving is upon us, AGAIN! It just seems like yesterday, that we were scurrying about, looking for the sales on turkeys and pumpkin pies, and making sure there was enough butter on hand to slather on fresh-baked biscuits or warm rolls. As well, many of us were busy scanning all the ads and looking online for all the sales that were sure to come on this thing we call “Black Friday.” But did we remember to be thankful?
Now I’ve never been quite sure whether the first Thanksgiving was an occasion when the early Pilgrims were marking a successful harvest with a celebratory feast, whether they were saying ‘thanks’ to their Native American friends, or taking time to thank God. Actually, I expect it was a combination of all three. They were alive! They had pantries and root cellars stocked for the winter. They just might make it.
As the Thanksgiving tradition comes down to me, there is a similar admixture. To me, it is a time to celebrate, to be joyful for many things – for family and friends, for a warm home to shelter me, for a great church and congregation, but especially, for all God has done in my life to bless me and keep me. And the question arises for me – what shall I do to thank God for all God has done for me. Should I come before God with thousands of burnt offerings, with rivers of costly oil, with sacrifices so dear to me that it would be like tearing out my own heart? Truly, there is nothing I can ever do to repay God for all God has already done in my life. And that is not what God asks for us – for repayment. Rather, if we are truly thankful to God, all God asks is the following: “what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) That’s all? Yes. If we want to be truly thankful to God, just those three things.
This Thanksgiving, let us together resolve to act justly to all people, and to God. To not only be merciful, but to love mercy, which means we participate in God’s grace, adding our own grace to everyone we encounter. And then, lest we think too highly of ourselves – to walk humbly with God, acknowledging God is God, and we are not. And being truly thankful for that. God loves us! Let us remember to love God back, and while we are at it, to love each other as well.
May you have a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving, my sisters and brothers,
Pastor Ken, Eureka United Methodist Church.