Sermon: Service of Thanksgiving

I remember a time, I was probably ten or so, going squirrel hunting with my Grandaddy. It was a beautiful fall day, with just a bit of fog. As I walked along looking up in the trees for the crafty squirrel, I came into this slight clearing, and in front of me were these four trees in a row, all the same height, all the same age. Nothing too remarkable about that – trees are as thick as grass in that part of Louisiana – but the first tree was completely bare of leaves, already shed for winter; the second still had its leaves, but they were brown; the third also had leaves, but were this brilliant yellow; and the fourth was still green as though winter hadn’t touched it at all. Perhaps that isn’t so remarkable to some, but it’s been over forty years since I saw those trees and the memory of them still blesses me today. I may have been the only person on the planet that saw them, but it was truly remarkable. Yet, had I been wandering around with my head down, I never would have seen them.

Today, it seems that we as the human race spend a lot of time looking down. We look down at our phones and get caught up in the things we see on those tiny screens. We look down because the terrors of the world can sometimes be so overwhelming. We look down, so focused on our own lives – whether that be because of careers or troubles or vanity – we look down on our own lives and are consumed with our own little sphere. But by looking down, we never see God’s blessings around us.

Put down the phone and look up. See the blessings in the smile of the stranger sitting next to you. Look up from the terrors of this world. Look up and take the advice of Fred Rogers – Mr. Rogers to those who remember his neighborhood – he said “When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Look up and see the blessings. Look up from your own life and realize that it is not only about receiving, but that there are blessings in giving.

All that is evil in this world could fit on the head of a pin compared to all the blessings that surround us. Those blessing may simply be four trees in a clearing on a foggy morning that are seen only by you, but they are God’s gifts to you.

Look up. Look up and know that the Lord is God. Look up and experience the joy of those blessings that God has prepared for his people. Look up and give thanks for the Lord Our God is good.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the Lord Our God is good.

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