11/25/08

Thanksgiving Day: Let us give Thanks to the Lord Our God!

Thanksgiving is an extremely important part of the Christian life, and one which, in my daily praying, often gets little attention. So it is good for us to have this holi-day to remind us to stop and give thanks to God, that, in doing so, he may form us into thankful people.

Here is a wonderful little quote from St. Athanasius:

"For the Apostle Paul, who gave thanks always, urges us to draw near to God in the same way. He said 'Let your requests, with thanksgiving, be made known to God (Phil. 4).' Desiring that we would always continue doing this, he says, 'At all times give thanks; pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5).' For he knew that believers are strong while they give thanks. And, while rejoicing, they pass over the enemy's walls..." (NPNF2, vol. iv, p. 515).

And here is the prayer of General Thanksgiving:

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all, for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer [1979] p. 101, and The United Methodist Book of Worship, #550)

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3 Comments:

Blogger zenana said...

are we having a formal relationship with jesus??...if not,then why all such begging and thanks...he is someone out there for all of us...he is somebody whom we can approach not even asking for a permission....he loves us and so do we...my Jesus is someone whom I can approach any time;I can tell him anything that I want,I can complain,I can shout and Shamelessly cry before him....tell him to be with me not even letting me to embrace sin,when ever you talk to my Jesus and feel him:):)

if you hear his voice,won't you ask why he has forsaken me....I'm not hearing him now a days...

my Jesus loves you too...(though I don't like it :):)...)

7:09 AM, December 02, 2008  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

Hey Zenana,
I'm not sure if I got exactly what question you wanted to ask? I think it appropriate to thank God because he's done such wondrous things.

I hope that you (and I, and everyone) will have a very intimate communion with Jesus - but never forgetting that it is a covenant relationship (thus it does have a certain form/commitment structure - unlike so many of the relationships described by contemporary loves songs that are all about emotional highs) and that to be in relation with Jesus is to be in relation to the Almighty Lord. It is no casual or comfortable thing - when his own dear friend John saw him in his glory he "fell at his feet as though dead" - and yet he is the loving one who reaches down his hand to touch and give life to his friend (Revelation 1:17). And he surely wants to reach out and embrace you (and me and everyone) in his strong and gentle arms as well.

Even so, I am not too comfortable with the "my Jesus" way of talking (the popular Christian song on the radio not withstanding). He is mine only insofar as he has chosen to give himself utterly to us in life and death and resurrected life (not just to me, but us). But he is the Lord - living, wild and free - I cannot contain or fully possess him - only be possessed by him in his unfathomable grace.

I'm not sure why you don't like the fact that God offers love to me (if that is even what you were saying?), but that is really between your heart and his to sort out, I think. I will pray for you.

I cannot begin to offer any comments on why you feel God has forsaken you or why he might really do so. I believe that sometimes God changes the way he speaks as we grow in him and are able to comprehend a more subtle word (look at the progression in Genesis from God appearing to people outright to people seeing God's hand in circumstances). Sometimes our own sin blocks our fellowship with the Lord. And sometimes our feeling forsaken is part of our growth with him - the dark night of the soul experienced by so many of the great saints. Or maybe it is something else altogether in your case.

I pray you find what you are seeking in Christ, the Almighty Lord.

-D

12:03 PM, December 02, 2008  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:09 PM, December 02, 2008  

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