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Thanksgiving November 23rd 2016

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Thanksgiving November 23rd 2016

Deuteronomy 26:1-11 Psalm 100 Philippians 4:4-9 John 6: 25-35

We too have conquered and settled into a goodly land that like the land of promise is flowing with milk and honey. Thus we too need to come with our first-fruits and bring offerings to the One from whom we receive all our blessings. Reading the Deuteronomy lesson, we first have to make this confession: “A wandering Aramaean or Syrian, (Aram was Syria), was my ancestor” and we became oppressed and were made into slaves, but God made us into a mighty nation, flowing with milk and honey. Thus we confess that we want to build a wall to keep refugees and immigrants out, that undocumented people in our land are now frightened and fearful, while God says that we are to treat such people well. God watches out particularly for the most vulnerable in the land and the atmosphere after our presidential campaign scapegoated the most vulnerable amongst us. We have to take care of our own, those who are left behind as well, but the fault does not lie with the aliens in the land. A new statistic now states that not one percent but one tenth of one percent of our population owns 99.9 percent of all assets. What is wrong with this picture?

I think the Pilgrims were living out the last verse of our Deuteronomy lesson. “Then you, together with the priests (Levites) and the aliens, who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given you and to your house.” Thus even after losing half on their number during the first long, cruel, cold winter, the Pilgrims celebrated their Thanksgiving Feast with the Indians, who had actually saved them all from starvation. Sadly, this Thanksgiving is one in reverse. Yesterday militarized police turned water cannons on the Standing Rock Indians in 20-degree temperature, hit them with rubber bullets, and tear gas. Let us pray that President Obama can intervene on behalf of the Native Americans. Many tribes are making a stand there and reconciliation would spell putting our Thanksgiving right once again.

When I was ordained by in Berlin, Bischof Kurt Scharf asked me to stand up for the Native Americans in our country. Thank God, when I was asked to join the church wide European Descent Luther Association for Racial Justice, they asked me to be a Liaison to the Native Americans.

The way the Indians saved the Pilgrims that first winter, we now have to stand up for the Indians at Standing Rock. God is watching out for them. Let’s pray that the pipeline can be redirected. It was moved up a mile from the Indian Reservation to avoid the population center of Bismarck. It can be moved again.

Let’s also pray for the thousands of refugees fleeing the war torn Middle East. They have to flee because they are in unlivable and violent conditions. We played a very ignorant and negative role in that whole debacle. Let us pray for them and do what we can for them. My niece is proving help for refugee children and has a go-fund-me campaign going. We have to get our hearts in the right place.

We don’t follow Jesus for material blessings, but spiritual ones. He rebukes those who search for him because they ate their fill of loaves and fish at his feeding of the masses. He bids them to yearn for the Bread from Heaven, which is even greater than the Manna that God provided for the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings.

What is the one thing needful? That we believe in Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the bread of heaven come to be with us. The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. We thank God, because here in Christ Lutheran Church, we believe in Jesus, who says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

We can be so thankful to God for that promise. But it requires seeking the bread of heaven first, bringing our offerings first, watching out over the most vulnerable in the land first. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all kinds of material things will be added unto you. When we do the opposite, when we first seek material goods and not that bread of heaven, then all things become subtracted from us.

So we have so much to be thankful for! These two years in which I was privileged to be your co-pastor have been such a blessing to me! That blessing sets my heart rejoicing! Do you know the song taken out of our Philippians lesson?

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice. XX

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice.  XX

Rejoice, Rejoice, and again I say Rejoice. XX

Rejoice, Rejoice, and again I say Rejoice. XX

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice!

Amen.

Written by peterkrey

November 30, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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