Thanksgiving Topical Study

<p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Thansgiving in Scripture</span></strong></p><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Exodus 15:1-21</a>, a song of thanksgiving</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Deuteronomy 8:3-20</a>, gratitude for God&#39;s actions</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 95:1-5</a>, singing thanksgiving</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 100:1-5</a>, enter God&#39;s presence with thanksgiving</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 116:1-19</a>, thanksgiving for God&#39;s healing</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 145:13-21</a>, thanks for God&#39;s faithfulness</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Jonah 2:7-9</a>, Jonah&#39;s song of thanks</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Luke 17:11-19</a>, one thankful leper</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Colossians 2:6-7</a>, gratitude in Christ</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Colossians 4:2</a>, prayer and thanksgiving</span></li></ul><p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Reflections about Thanksgiving</span></strong></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">God&#39;s Instruction</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;When Israel was preparing for a new life in the promised land, God gave them the instruction, &quot;Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field&quot; (Ex. 23:16). Thanksgiving celebrations were an important part of the people&#39;s worship before God. Throughout history, worshiping communities have set aside certain times and days as events of special thanksgiving to God. These events are an acknowledgment that God, as creator, is also the provider of all the bounty of life.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;Thankful Worship In addition, churches are encouraged to schedule multiple times of thankful worship as determined by their experiences. When special blessings are experienced, when fervent prayers have been answered, when times of prosperity come, or when God has led and protected through times of trial or uncertainty, the church does well to gather in thankful worship before God&quot;</span>&nbsp;<span class="body-copy-sm">(<em>The Worship Sourcebook,</em>&nbsp;2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Faith Alive Christian Resources, Baker Books, 2013, 405).</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Thanks to God It must be clear that the thanks is given to God and not a celebration of our own achievements. Our God-concept must include him as the great gift-giver and source of all bounty who delights in hearing our response. Though this seems obvious, it can be easy to slip away from it when the call to thanks comes from a national leader and the event seems more national/political than spiritual.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">What are we thankful for? The causes that stimulate our thanks must be clearly identified. Most national calls to thanksgiving exhort us to give thanks for the &quot;bounties of divine providence,&quot; which usually is a reference to the economy, good crops, and the freedoms of the land. However, in our worship services we usually desire to broaden this beyond material goods to include other areas such as health; relationships in our homes, families, and communities; protection and safety in our land; the welfare of the church; and the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.&nbsp;</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">When it&#39;s hard to be thankful Worship leaders must be sensitive to the fact that while some have prospered and are filled with great thanks, others are suffering loss and disappointment and may find this day a very difficult one. Such worshipers must gently be led to understand how it is that they are called to give thanks also. The story behind the well-known hymn &quot;Now Thank We All Our God&quot; is a powerful one and can well be told at every Thanksgiving service. When, during the Thirty Years&#39; War, Pastor Rinkart was called on to preside at over four thousand funerals in a year, and sometimes fifty per day, and could still write this hymn of thanks, we are led in a powerful lesson!&nbsp;</span></span></p>