A Service of Thanksgiving
Acts 2:42 to Acts 3:10 & 1 Thessalonians 1:2-7 & Philemon 1:4-7 & Luke 4:16-21
Today we will explore three things for which we can give thanks:
- What we have – to keep and give away
- The relationships we live in
- The Good News.
We talk about the value of gifts that we receive only being found when they are opened and used. In this wonderful reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of the early followers of the risen Christ – giving away, or should I say paying forward, the possessions and goods they have to those without – all the while thanking and praising God for his good grace.
Then Peter and John – even without money ‘Silver and Gold have I none’ still offer the spiritual gifts and blessings they have – in an act of love (See 1 Corinthians 13) to a stranger who is not whole.
In turn, upon being healed the new ex-cripple, gives thanks and praise to God and shares with others, the blessing he has received.
Whether money, possessions or love – we all have something that we can give to others. As people in church age, or go onto a fixed incomes, they often tell me of what they can no longer do. But this is not the message here – we always have love, the ability to pray, to share wisdom, to encourage others, to heal – physically, emotionally, spiritually and like the ex-cripple, evangelise in word and deed.
Remember that we are blessed to be a blessing to others.
But we also give thanks for the people God has placed us alongside in life’s journey.
As we read in Paul’s letter to Philemon, there are people around us in this very congregation, whose love has given great joy and encouragement. Actions, kind words or their mere presence, leads us to give them thanks and our Lord’s praise.
Hopefully today, or in coming weeks, you can hand one or more of those sheets of paper to those people to thank them for their joy and encouragement.
I know from the feedback I received that the card ministry in our church is hugely appreciated. A big thanks to Sandra Fowlie who initiates and facilitates this ministry.
As we mentioned at the outset, so many of our folks, need to be thanked for the work they do in the various ministries and outreaches of our church.
So many are in the background, rather than upfront leaders – the worship service and the number of people it takes to bring it together, is testament to that truth for all our activities.
We may never know the impact of their work until one day when we all meet again in glory.
But every now and then, those who would be normally unseen, cross our path to bring us the realisation that we live in a community of people, seen and unseen, doing small acts that can affect our lies in profound ways.
The third type of thanksgiving is made for Jesus who brought the ‘Good News’. These words are interchangeable with the words ‘Gospel’ and ‘evangelise’.
I always think of the words we put together – ‘gospel truth’ – the unqualified, non-fake, truth for all, truth that is Good News – the truth of redemption of sins, of unqualified love and mercy and the hope of eternal life.
Evangelise – or euangelon in Greek – is not the ‘proclaiming’ we read in verses 18-19.
It is much deeper – it is about joy and thanksgiving and forwarding the blessing to others.
Good news is often something that is in short supply in our world – on the screen, on our radios, in our newspapers and even in our conversations. (Although I have noticed the ABC news is more open to sharing some Good News stories of late).
It is there – but as with our faith – we need to put on the right set of spectacles and look with new eyes.
World Vision Australia, on the homepage of their website, says ‘we care for the poor because we are Christian’ and in a recent post, they invoked us to focus on the manifestation of Christ’s Good New in its work.
Let’s take a look
May God bless you with this message.