Summary: God's place is a joyful place of thanksgiving and praise... when we prepare to make it so.
Title: Let’s Meet at God’s Place for Thanksgiving
Text: Psalm 100
Thesis: God’s place is a joyful place of thanksgiving and praise… when we prepare to make it so.
In that we do not have family nearby Bonnie and I are pretty intentional about where we will go for Thanksgiving Dinner.
This year the Stanley Hotel reduced its brunch to serving only 300 guests so it booked up very quickly. I found an interesting and quaint place called The Hearth Stone in Breckenridge. It’s a 120 year old Victorian house that has been serving Breckenridge since 1939 but it did not begin serving until mid-afternoon. So it is brunch at Ellynton’s at The Brown Palace this year. No muss. No fuss. Nearby. Valet Parking. Jazz combo (not sure how that works on Thanksgiving). And we will enjoy a deliciously prepared and presented brunch.
We know where we are going. We know how to get there. We know we will be graciously received and served. We know we will enjoy our brunch. We are looking forward to Thanksgiving. We are going to The Brown Palace.
In one sense the celebration of Thanksgiving is not only an event… it is a destination.
I. God’s Place, Psalm 100:4
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4
The Psalmist associated the event of giving thanks with going to the House of God for the specific purpose of giving thanksgiving and praise to God. For the Psalmist and those who lived then and there giving thanks and praise meant going to Temple.
When our children were young we enjoyed going to Grandpa’s and Grandma’s house for holidays. It was usually a trip so the kiddos were especially excited when we finally arrived. The festivities were about to begin…. Hugs and kisses all around. Grandparents. Great Grandparents. Uncles and aunts. Cousins. Inlaws and outlaws. This all happened in the front yard and on the front porch before we unloaded our stuff and went into the house. It was always such a joyful time for us.
But then the years passed and our kiddos and our grandchildren would journey to be with Grandpa and Grandma. We typically get a text or a call… “We’re in Omaha.” Eventually we get a text or call, “We’re in Ogallala. And then the countdown begins… and as they anxiously pressed their noses against the car window when they arrived at our house… inside Bonnie and I had our noses pressed against the glass in anticipation of their arrival.
I am telling you the anticipation and joy we have experienced as grandparents awaiting the arrival of our children and grandchildren far exceeds their anticipation of arrival. Had I been more observant I would have seen how much our arrival meant to Grandpa and Grandma.
There is something heartfelt about going to God’s house… about deliberately setting a time to be in the presence of our Heavenly Father… and now I understand just how happy God must be when we arrive.
One of the things that make going to God’s place is that it is a grace place.
II. God’s Place Is a Grace Place, Psalm 100:5
For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100:5
When we conscientiously set about seeking the presence of God for the purpose of thanksgiving and praise it is not as though we are unmotivated worshipers.
God’s place is a grace place where we know we will be accepted and loved forever. We know that the grace of God is not limited to just one generation but is a love that continues down through the generations.
There are lots of “Home is where…” idioms. There is the old idiom, “Home is where the hearts it.” RVers may say, “Home is where you park it.” One comedian quipped, “Always be nice to your kids because they are the ones who will choose your rest home.” But more to the point I wish to make about God’s place being a grace place, “Home is where you can go as you are.” And, “Home is a place where when you go there they have to take you in.”
God is better than that. It is true that you may come to God’s place as you are and you may come to God’s place pretty sure that God will take you in. God’s place is a place where we know God’s love for us is unfailing and where God does not deal with us as we deserve. God’s place where God is like a father who is tender and compassionate toward his children. (Psalm 103) So whatever we may bring with us to church, we may be assured that God will forgive it so we do not have to take it home