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The Church Within
Thanksgiving Service of 2008

Offered by

Minister Judy Girard     [visit]

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2008 Thanksgiving Service of the Church Within
Weekly On-Line Services Since September 29, 1996

Today's Service is offered by: Minister Judy Girard

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to the Church that is Within.

As is our Thanksgiving Tradition, Today's Service is presented by our very own Minister Judy Girard. This also just happens to be Judy's 10th Anniversary as a Minister of the Church Within… she was ordained on Thanksgiving day in 1998. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Judy!!!

The topic of today's Thanksgiving Service, is "Thanks Living"…

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.... Bring an offering and come before him .... Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."
(The Bible - I Chronicles 16:8, 29, 34)

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"
(The Bible - I Thessalonians 5:18)

After you eat and are full, give praise to the Lord your God for the good land he gave you. Make sure that you never forget the Lord or disobey his laws and teachings that I am giving you this day.
(The Bible - Deuteronomy 8:10-11)

The Sermon
Today, people all across the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving. They will be particularly mindful of the harvest and of the bounty. Churches and stores alike will be decorated with squash and pumpkins, pilgrims and turkeys, multi-colored leaves, corn, grapevines and other produce including jars of all the good stuff like pickles, jams and jellies.

Families will get together and sit down to bounteous feasts of turkey with all the trimmings, with apple cider (or something stronger) and pumpkin pie. We will reward ourselves - those of us who can - with the bounties and fruits of the harvest. We will even remember those less fortunate than ourselves. We will hold dinners at shelters and soup kitchens and we will have given a little extra to the food banks. And we will be satisfied.

And that's good - but it also might be bad.

It's good because it is right that we should feast and thank God for what has been given to us. It is right to celebrate and to share the bounty of the earth and sea; it's good to express appreciation and to rejoice over the goodness of God. God truly has blessed us and given everything to us. It is right and good that we should give thanks and give back to God.

But it also might be bad - depending on our overall attitude and approach to life and to what God has done for us and continues doing for us.

In a sense, all we do is give slight pause, mostly indulge ourselves and alleviate any guilt we may have by some small act of benevolence. It is very minimalistic. It is merely scratching the surface.

My point is that I think God calls us to much better than a tip of the hat.

God calls us not only to a day of thanksgiving, as people have been called from the time of Moses, God calls us to a life of thanks-living.

For me, the difference between thanksgiving and thanks-living is the difference between giving thanks on one day and living thanks always. Thanksgiving is a terminal event. Thanks living is a way of life.

Giving thanks is important. Living Thanks is crucial.

When we give thanks as a community and as a family, we are reminded of all the good things and all the good people with whom we have been gifted. We remember that we have been blessed; we remember that there is a greater good than ourselves - if only for a moment or a day.

But the temptation is to then return to our self-sufficiency, to forget
God, to say to ourselves - "my strength and my ability have gotten me thus far in life" - and then to yearn for more, and to expect it as if it were our right and our privilege.

We see it in our children. They are ever so grateful, momentarily, when we've gifted them. But how quickly they forget their thankfulness. They return to their everyday lives, their established patterns and their established attitudes.

Are we so different than our children?

Don't we always want more or better or newer or stronger? That's the impression one can get watching the TV ads. We fill our lives with things only to find out that there is no filling.

This is where thanks-living comes into the picture. We begin to "live
thanks" when we open our lives up to God and give God the first place. The place where God and our relationship with God is the most important aspect of our lives.

As we do this - as we humble ourselves before God and acknowledge that God is the source of all good things, our awareness of our blessings increases, our joy becomes fuller, and we find ourselves in an attitude and state of grace.

Like Abraham and Sarah, we discover we have been blessed to be a blessing. Our continual thankfulness for our blessings will turn into a lifetime of living thanks, of living the blessings and sharing the blessings because we know in the deepest parts of our hearts that God is the giver of it all.

As you give thanks this Thanksgiving Day, remember your calling to be
joyful always, to pray continually, and to give thanks in all circumstances. It is what God wants of you and for you. In it you will find the fullness of what God has in store for you.

The Prayer
May we live thankfully each and every moment.

Be safe. Enjoy! And remember who you are—a grateful child of God.

Many Blessings,

Minister Judy


You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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