Sermons

Summary: What do we have to be thankful for, and how do we go about expressing thankfulness to God?

Anybody have anything special planned for the weekend? Anybody having a big Thanksgiving dinner? What’s on the menu?

PARTICIPATION

We’re going to be heading to Halifax this afternoon, coming back Tuesday morning. So we’ll have our Thanksgiving dinner there with Shera’s family. Thanksgiving with them is a little different than what I grew up with. I grew up having turkey for Thanksgiving dinner… then have roast beef. Apparently that’s because Shera’s father is British, although I’m not sure why that matters since Thanksgiving isn’t really that big a deal in Great Britain. So it’s not what I’m used to, but that’s okay. Because after having turkey year after year, a change is good.

Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you’re bored with the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. So just in case you are, let me give you some other uses for that turkey.

Other Ways To Use the Thanksgiving Turkey:

10. As a blunt object to fend off pesky family members

9. As a mask for Halloween

8. Toss the Carcass into a turkey farm to intimidate next year’s stock

7. As a hood ornament

6. Turkey football

5. Throw out the window yelling, “You’re free! Fly! Fly!”

4. Bury in the yard for future midnight snacks

3. Secretly replace with Folger’s Turkey Crystals

2. Wear as a helmet, declaring, “I’m Turkeyman!”

1. Two words: Turkey Puppet

Just pretend with me that you’re already sitting at the table for Thanksgiving Dinner. Granted, it’s a really strange table and you have to sit in rows, and for some reason the food is going to be delayed for a while. But one of the things that people sometimes do around the table at Thanksgiving is tell each other some of the things they’re thankful for. So real quick, tell us some things you’re thankful for this year.

PARTICIPATION

It’s good to take the time to give thanks. I remember as a kid being forced to write “thank you” notes after Christmas or Birthdays. It’s an important thing to give thanks. And when it comes to giving thanks to God for the blessing He gives us, it’s actually a form of worship.

In the passage from the Bible that Lynn read for us earlier we learned about a group of ten men who all had leprosy. And Jesus healed them all. But only one of them took the time to return to Jesus and worship Him with thanksgiving for what Jesus had done for Him.

In PowerPoint, I have some rather graphic images of what leprosy does to a person. If you don’t want to see them, you may want to close your eyes or look away for a minute. These are some of the pictures I found on the Internet. And these are actually some of the milder ones. I found some that I couldn’t stand looking at myself… pictures of people who are so disfigured that they’ll unrecognizable. Leprosy had literally eaten away their faces.

Okay, the images are gone. You can open your eyes now.

In the movie “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” there’s a funny little scene where Friar Tuck is working undercover with Azeem, who’s played by Morgan Freeman. They don’t want Azeem to be recognized, so they wrap him up in cloth and pretend that he’s a leper. Watch.

VIDEO CLIP ("Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves")

Notice how quickly the guard retreated when he thought he was near a leper. If that’s what it was like in the Middle Ages, it was even worse in the time of Christ. So let’s try to get an understanding of the setting.

Today when we talk about leprosy, we’re referring to Hansen’s disease (a term I’m not particularly fond of), a very specific skin disease. But in the time of Christ, it referred to a variety of skin disorders. And there were some rather severe social connotations for people who had leprosy. They became social outcasts. It would be as if you had AIDS about fifteen or twenty years ago. I don’t know about you, but the first time I even heard of AIDS was when I heard that Rock Hudson had it. Not many other people had heard of it at that time either, but once the news about Rock Hudson got out it became a household word.

And the thing I remember about that time is that everyone was paranoid about catching AIDS. We were all worried, “Can I catch it from shaking hands? What about if I breathe the same air? Can I get it through kissing? If I share a drink with someone, am I at risk?” We didn’t have much education about AIDS at that time, and so we really didn’t have a good understanding about it.

So people who had AIDS were made social outcasts, much in the same way that lepers were made social outcasts in Jesus’ day. Except there were some rather strict rules that lepers had to follow in how they lived. They had to live outside city walls. They had to wear torn clothes. They couldn’t comb their hair. They had to keep the lower part of their face covered. And they had to stay at least 100 paces from anyone who didn’t have leprosy. In fact, to make sure nobody got too close, they were required to yell “Unclean” whenever they saw someone approaching them.

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