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Sermon Notes » Blog Archive » Living with Gratitude in God’s Creation

Sermon Notes

of the Manhattan Church of Christ

Flower

Living with Gratitude in God’s Creation

Psalm 100:1-5

Thanksgiving in a Complicated World

Giving Thanks takes us into the heart of life with God. God is creator of this world, but he made it complicated – a world in which we make a difference for better or worse. A world full of good & bad, pleasure & suffering, nobility & wickedness, freedom & oppression.

The “problem of evil” is often raised against belief in God. But non-belief doesn’t solve the problem. It leaves the suffering and says that it is meaningless. Only in Jesus do we see God neck-deep under our evil, suffering, death; taking it on himself, creating hope and life.

When you step inside that Gospel, you learn not just to be stoic in suffering, but to rejoice and give thanks in all the circumstances of life – even sitting in prison with Paul.  The true challenge is the “problem of good.” How can there be so much beauty, strength, life, creativity, hope, healing, justice, love in a world where so many things can go wrong.

Christian worship is Eucharist (Thanksgiving) – broken body, shed blood, the gift of life – God’s sacrifice to give us his eternal life, enfold us in his love, redeem his whole creation. It fills our teaching. We sing thanks; we pray thanks; we give to learn/express gratitude.

Thanksgiving and Stewardship of God’s Creation

The moment we are born we receive the vast gift of this world and life. It’s a great journey, a challenging exploration, a home, a dangerous adventure, a school for human character. Christians need to join fully in scientific discovery, artistic expression, creation of culture.

We work in the world knowing that “The Lord is God…and we are his. We receive the world as a trust given to us, within a larger reality. We are God’s stewards of a beautiful creation, to implement God’s own creative care for his world, to bless and not destroy.

We are stewards of our own lives (we return them to God), in all their complexity and individuality. We are stewards of our experiences, sufferings, successes, gifts. We need to take our gifts seriously, not denigrate them. We need to learn through our pains.

We learn to see everything as a trust not a possession. Nothing is permanently ours except the life we create by God’s grace.  But that, inadequate as we are, God takes and makes into something truly astonishing – coming to new life in a world renewed by God.

Thanksgiving in the Circles of Family and Community

Giving thanks, stewardship, generosity, worship are to be shared. They expand in ever-widening circles.  We are grateful for healthy families, for all we learn of love and vulnerability. We seek healing for broken relationships. Invest time and energy in loving relationships.

We’re part of a community of thanks with others on the same journey. But also back and forward through time. We “give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.”

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