Happy Thanksgiving!

24 11 2011

“Thank you” is a simple statement.  We use it when someone holds a door for us or gets us a drink.  We also use it when someone saves a life or makes a great sacrifice.  It may be simple but it slows us down and shifts our focus from ourselves to the contributions of others.

I appreciate Thanksgiving.  It gives us a day to focus on thankfulness.  There are stories highlighting people who serve the community.  Articles are written to capture the spirit of the day.  People will talk about focusing on what they are thankful for in spite of difficult circumstances.

I want to jump on that bandwagon.  There is a story told in Luke 16:11-19 about Jesus healing ten lepers.  Only one came back and said thank you.  Jesus asked about the others but they were like us most of the time.  They were so focused on themselves they did not slow down and give thanks for the gift they had been given.

The twist in the story is that the man was a Samaritan.  Jesus referred to him as a foreigner and asked about the other nine.  I will assume the other nine were Jews.  They grew up as those who could freely go to the temple.  The Samaritan would have always been looked down upon and seen as an outsider.  When the ten of them got leprosy, they would have all been declared unclean and would have been unable to worship at the temple.  There was a procedure if they could prove they were cured where they could once again enter the temple.  The nine would have been comfortable with the process.  The Samaritan would have been excited when he heard those amazing words from the priest declaring him clean.

While people will debate the state of Christianity in the United States, the reality is that we are use to it.  We have a basic understanding of the structure and expectations when we go to church.  Those who are active in church can even become more comfortable with the environment.  We can become so comfortable we forget just how amazing the gift we have been given is.

This Sunday will be the first Sunday of Advent.  It is the time of preparation in church tradition for Christmas marking God stepping down into humanity.

I invite us all to be like the Samaritan.  Lets look at the rituals and the ceremonies that will happen with new eyes.  Lets get excited about the opportunities to gather and worship.  When we take communion, lets pause and let it touch our hearts.  For those exploring Christianity, I am especially excited for you.  Enjoy the time of discovery and I hope you have moments of awe as you see the depth of God’s love.

My hope for each one of us is that over the course of this week we will all have a special moment with God and be able to say “Thank you.”

God bless,

Chaps


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