As everyone goes wild with last minute Thanksgiving shopping and many are preparing for Christmas buying, it is well that we look at the first Thanksgiving. First, the very first Thanksgiving services were probably in Texas and Florida, Spanish and Roman Catholic. The Irish may have been responsible for the first Thanksgiving service in Canada in the 6th Century (St. Brenden the Navigator).
Focusing on what many of us regard as being the first Thanksgiving, we would like to note that the Pilgrims were not Puritans, but consisted of Separatists and a more secular group. Their first act after their sixty-two day journey to the wrong place was to go to their knees to thank God for arriving safely. How many of us would gripe for not arriving where we want to go?
The second Thanksgiving was somewhat more dramatic. Over sixty of one hundred and ten colonists had died. Drought threatened to destroy the corn and squash, and our Pilgrims fasted and prayed. Do we fast and pray in adversity?
What we see is that the Pilgrims knew who they were. Man (Adam in Hebrew) was formed from dirt (Adamah) in Hebrew. Or using the Latin based words in English, Human is formed from Humus. Do we realise who and what we are? We are God’s creation. We strayed from him, both in the Garden of Eden, through history, and in our every day lives. We like Eve, want to be as gods, deciding for ourselves what good and evil is. The Lord Yeshua ha Moshiah (Jesus the Messiah) came into the world, to die for us, to reconcile us to God, to nature, and with each other. He bought us for a price, yet we still have forgotten who we are. Instead of ten Commandments, we have ten suggestions. Instead of caring for widows and orphans, we look out for number one. Instead of spreading the faith we hide it. We judge homosexuals, yet say nothing about unfaithfulness, divorce, or adultery. We claim to be Christians, but look at the clock if the preacher goes to long in the sermon. Is it any wonder that God would bring judgment upon us? After all, he brought down judgment and expulsion of the people of Istrael once, and the people of Judah twice. Why do we think we are so special?
Like the Pilgrims, we need to realise who we are. We are as dust before the Lord. Yeshua (Jesus) suffered terribly for our redemption yet we ignore him. Like the Pilgrims, and others of their times, we need to start centering our lives on the Lord. We need to study God’s word as individuals, as families and as a church. We need to fast and pray, again as individuals, families, congregation and the nation. We need to make a serious financial commitment to the church so that the church can take care of the widows and orphans, not the state. Sunday instead of being a day of shopping and recovering from Saturday night partying should be a day for churches and families to unite, celebrate God’s word, to worship, and study.
In addition to knowing who they were, the Puritans knew who God was. They saw his hand around them. Could it have been an accident that there were no Indians living where they landed? It had to have been the hand of God. Was the drought an accident? No, it was God’s judgment. That is why they fasted and prayed. Many people condemned Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson when they said that 9/11 was God’s judgment of our sins, but the Pilgrims would have agreed with this. We must ask our selves then, is God God? Is He Lord? If so, then then we must believe he is in charge. Does this mean that all who died were guilty? No that is the evil and perverse power of sin. If I commit adultery, it affects my wife, my children, my church and my relationship with God. When the president of Romania refused to provide sufficient funds for health care, hundred of children died of AIDS.
If then we really know who God is, we must kneel down before him, and confess our sins. We need to invite Yeshua (Jesus) into our hearts as Lord. We have no power to help ourselves, but when we truly make Jesus Lord of our lives, and follow him all the way, He will give us power to conquer sin and death in our lives.
If you need a saviour, and not just fire insurance, contact me or your neighbourhood pastor, and we will walk you through it.
May each of you have a thankful Thanksgiving.