THANKSGIVING AND PSALM 118
- THANKSGIVING AND PSALM 118
One of the scriptures appointed for Thanksgiving is Psalm 118. It's an
important Psalm for us to keep in mind about Thanksgiving and gratitude to God.
It begins, "O, give thanks to the Lord, for he is gracious, because his mercy endures forever."
One of the things that we know about God just from that verse is that God is gracious. That means He is full of grace and that He has grace to give. We give thanks to Him f r that, and for His mercy that is forever.. Why do we give thanks to Him? His mercy endures forever. In other words, we cannot do enough to earn His mercy. It's going to continue. We give thanks to God all the time for His mercy.
Then the Psalmist writes, "Let Israel now confess that he is gracious and that his mercy endures forever. Let the house of Aaron now confess that his mercy endureth forever. Yea, let them now fear that the Lord confess that his mercy endures forever." Everybody should be confessing this. "Confessing," in this context, means to speak it out loud. Confession is supposed to be spoken out loud. So when you confess something, you're speaking it out loud. It's important that we do this once in a while. The psalm continues.
"I called upon the Lord in trouble and the Lord heard me." So part of what we can be grateful for is that when we're in trouble, we call upon God and He hears us.
"The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man does to me. The Lord
taketh my part with them that help me, therefore shall I see my desire upon my enemies." In other words, we don't have to worry about taking care of those people who are against us. God will take care of them.
"It is better to trust in the Lord than put any confidence in human kind." This is an important thing for us to understand about being grateful at our Thanksgiving - that even when somebody gives us something or if we get something from somebody, it is actually because of God's mercy that it's available. Because without God's mercy, with each of us after each other's stuff, after each other's belongings, each other's prestige, each other's pride, in other words, without God, without a better way of life, without a loving kindness that God gives to us inside our hearts, we cannot get that which is good from anywhere else. We will be fighting all the time. We will be at war. We will be at each other's throats. We will want to have more. I want what you have. You want what I have. Then people start taking it. So it is obvious that any goodness that comes to us is part of God's mercy. It has to be part of God's mercy as it does not seem flow from us without divine intervention. So we're grateful for everything that someone else gives us. Our proper response when somebody gives something to us is, "To God be thanks," and "Oh, and thank you, too." The primary source of all good is God.
From the edited transcription of a sermon "THANKSGIVING AND PSALM 118"
delivered extemporaneously by Rev. Fr. John-Brian Paprock on November 26, 2008 after Thanksgiving Prayers at Holy Transfiguration Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin. The rest of the sermon transcription can be found at