O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB  
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    Rev. Cameron Schnarr

Beautiful Savior Lutheran School

Lutheran Church Canada - What do you believe?

LCC - Lutheran Church Canada

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, Canada
Thanksgiving is Remembering

Thanksgiving is Remembering

Based on Luke 17:11-19

Preached on October 8, 2017

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Oh give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good;
his mercy endures forever! Ps. 118:29

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name! Ps. 100:4

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall dwell in your presence. Ps. 140:13

All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints shall bless you! Ps. 145:10

“Give thanks to the LORD,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted. Is. 12:4

Oh give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good;
his mercy endures forever! Ps. 118:29

We don’t need our country to pass an act of Parliament, have our Prime Minister remind us, and set a national day – to know to give thanks. It’s all over the psalms, all over the Scriptures. To give thanks - is what faith does. In fact, you might say that to be Christian is to be thankful. Faith is thankful – it is full of thanksgiving, and cannot help itself but acknowledge the Giver and His crazy goodness.

We - are a “eucharistic people.” There’s a good Greek word for ya. Eucharist. The word “eucharist,” referring to the Lord’s Supper and its great thanksgiving, means to give thanks. It is truly good, right, and salutary, that we should at all times and in all places - give thanks to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. It simply goes with faith. Like the one faithful leper who returned to give thanks at the feet of Jesus.

Moses reminded the Israelites, “Don’t forget who you were, where you came from, how you got to this good land.” “And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.” Moses warned them, “Take care, lest you forget. Lest you forget that you were once slaves. Lest you forget that the Lord brought you out of Egypt. Lest you forget that He led you through the wilderness. Lest you forget that the land was inherited by mercy not by merit. “Beware, lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth.”

Thanksgiving is remembering. It is remembering the Giver of the gifts we enjoy. It’s not simply a matter of “counting one’s blessings.” It’s not for you – so you can say to yourself “I’m glad I have these things.” No, Thanksgiving is not an inventory. It is acknowledging the One who gives these things to you. It is that deep honest acknowledgment to Him - that all we have comes from our Father’s hand - through means, certainly, but it is from Him.

It’s hard to remember sometimes, isn’t it? Because He works through means – that is, through other people, our thanksgiving often stops one step short - Like the 9 out of ten lepers who were very thankful to God for their healing, but didn’t return to give thanks to Jesus. It is easy to thank the farmer, the butcher, the baker, and the others who serve us, and it’s good and right for us to do that. Everyone likes to hear a word of thanks. But it is easy to forget the Father, who with His divine goodness and mercy works in, with, and under these people to provide for and protect His good creation. Because God is hidden behind these “masks,” as Luther called them, we often forget to give thanks to Him from whom all blessings flow.

Anxious? Worried? Distressed? It’s easy to forget God then¬ too. Our focus is so taken by what we don’t have, whatever is causing us anxiety, that we forget what we do have. This is especially true of 2nd and 3rd article gifts – the gifts of Christ, of our Baptism into Christ, of our new birth in Him, the words of forgiveness spoken to us in His name, the Body and Blood that strengthen and preserve us. How could we forget these things?!? But we do. Jesus warned His disciples - that the cares and concerns of this life can choke out the Word, like weeds choking out good seed. He told them, “Don’t be anxious for the things of this life, what you will eat or wear, for your Father in heaven knows you needs these things, and He who cares for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field will certainly care for you. You are His children. (How many young people – worried about finding a spouse – lose sight of the gift of faith God has given them – and often end up with neither faith, nor a good spouse?)

The apostle Paul, writing to the Philippians from prison, said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Did you catch it? With thanksgiving. No matter what your circumstances, no matter what the cause of your anxiety, no matter why you are praying, thank God. Don’t thank Him as a transaction, for what you hope to receive (“Thank you in advance for your cooperation.”) but thank Him for what brought you to prayer in the first place. Faith. Thank God that you can trust Him. Remember, Paul is writing from prison. He’s lost his freedom. But he is writing a thank you letter – to the Philippians who sent him a gift.

Faith makes him content. Full – full of thanks. He says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound, in any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” What’s his secret? “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” All things through Christ who gives me strength. This is how Paul can give thanks in any and all circumstances. He does so through Jesus Christ, who even though He had no place to lay His head, nonetheless trusted His Father and lived the perfect life of thanksgiving on behalf of you and me.

Paul is teaching us something. Without faith in Christ, who are we thanking? Our restless hearts are content only in Christ, and only in Christ does thanksgiving flow to God. The one out of ten lepers who believed, who was faithful, returned to the feet of Jesus to give thanks and praise to God. He might have argued that since God was everywhere, and he was headed to the temple anyway, why bother to go back. But faith drives him to the feet of Jesus. And it’s from the mouth of Jesus that he alone hears, “Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well.” The others were made well too, but this one was saved in the fullest sense of that word. Not simply cleansed from leprosy, but cleansed from the leprosy of sin and rescued from death by Jesus. Health is good, but eternal life is just that – eternal life.

But it’s happening this morning – right now. You are the leper that has come running back to Jesus in faith. You didn’t run off with the rest of the world this morning. And you didn’t come here for daily bread – that’s the turkey, tonight. You came to fall at the feet of Jesus. To bend your knee here at His table and acknowledge the One who cleanses you of all your sin, as He feeds you the harvest of His tree, even His own body and blood.

Thanksgiving is remembering. The Eucharist is remembering – doing this often in remembrance of the One who sheds His blood into your mouth that you might live. The One who upon cleansing you says – Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well.

You can thank Him today – because even when you didn’t thank Him, He kept giving to you. You can thank Him today – because even though you’ll forget to thank Him again sometime in the future, He will still be the One giving to you. You can thank Him today – because He is good - His mercy endures (pause and nod head and smile) - forever. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Rev. Cameron Schnarr