Summary: A Thanksgiving sermon.
“Giving Thanks In Uncertain Times”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News,
Thursday is Thanksgiving....boy it’s hard to believe how fast time flys!
It seems like yesterday that my family and I were spending the Thanksgiving holidays at
my mother-in-laws house...I can’t believe it’s been a year!
A year since they were still trying to figure-out who had won the Presidential election....a
year since all that we heard on the news was talk of chads and hanging chads....
Now a year later, the world has gone through a drastic change.
Since the planes crashed into the World Trade Center Towers, and the Pentagon....it’s
become more and more difficult to remember or even care what a chad or a hanging chad is.....as
our nation has become gripped with fear as our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers have
gone off to fight America’s New War.
Most of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving again this Thursday, but this year our
outlook is a bit different.....this year our world is a bit different.
We have all witnessed evil at work....right on our television screens....and for some
people...in our mailboxes....as twisted minds have been delusioned to think that God is a God
who calls on people to terrorize and kill other people.
But this is not what God is about....not even close!
And this is one thing...the greatest thing that we have to be thankful for....
God has not changed, as the Psalmist declares in our Scripture lesson for today: “Give
thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
And that certainly is a reason to be thankful!
Because our world is so full of so many things that are not good.
The events of September 11th were not good.....some crazy person spreading the disease
of Anthrax throughout the country is not good.
The murder of innocent human beings is not good.....
The fact that many children, wives, and husbands will spend this thanksgiving mourning
over the loss of their loved ones is not good.
The fact that so many people have lost their jobs is not good.
The fact that many of us have begun to feel a new fear....a feeling that we have never felt
before....that maybe we aren’t as safe as we once thought...is not good!
But God is good!
And His love endures forever!
“Let Israel say: His love endures forever.
Let the house of Aaron say: His love endures forever.”
And let’s not forget America....and let’s not forget Newport News, and let’s not forget
Parkview United Methodist Church....
“Let those who fear the Lord say: His love endures forever.”
In verse 5, the Psalmist declares, “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by
setting me free.”
And I think that many of us can relate to this....
For at one time, all of us were dead in our transgressions and sins.
At one time all of us were lost and confused.
At one time, all of us were living lives without hope....without any reason to be thankful.
Because when we were dead in our transgressions and sins...when we were literally
slaves to sin...in bondage to sin...chained up by sin...
There was nothing but anguish and pain within our souls.
And sin comes in all kinds of forms:
It can come in the form of not being able to control our tempers...and thus hurting
ourselves and those around us....
It can come in the form of disobeying our parents, or treating others as if they were not
worth the time of day.
It can come in the form of being angry at the world!
I can remember as a teenager actually being angry at my parents for having brought me
into this world in the first place.
I was mad because I didn’t fit in.
I was mad because, when I tried to do things my way...according to my play-book I
would inevitably fall on my face.
What a painful way to live....what anguish.
And then so many of us turn to drugs and alcohol in order to try and shut the pain of the
world out, but this only leads to more pain as we become more and more entreanched by the
slavery of sin.
The more we try to fix things according to the rules of the world, and according to the
ruler of this world...the more anguish we experience.
But when we call out to the Lord in the midst of our anguish....when we honestly call out
to Him....and hand Him the reigns.....the Lord answers by setting us free!
Setting us free and adopting us as sons and daughters.
And when this happens, we no longer have to get caught up in so many of the things
which cause us anguish.