The Malankara World Journal Issue 40 (dated November 24, 2011) is now available online at:
Table of Contents: Malankara World Journal Issue 40
1. Editor's Note
Today is celebrated as Thanksgiving Day in USA. Most of the people these days associate it with the beginning of Christmas Shopping. However, thanksgiving is a deeply theological act. The pilgrims gathered together to thank God for His blessings on the first thanksgiving day. There are many scripture references that are related to giving thanks.
"Let us come before him with Thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods."
God commands us to give him thanks. Thanksgiving is a time for us to glorify his name through praise and worship. Giving praise to the Lord is closely related to giving thanks to God. This is one of the best ways to praise God for just how great he is in our lives.
1 Corinthians 1:4-5
"I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way--- in all your speaking and in all your knowledge."
We are not worthy of the love that God has for us. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Despite our own shortcomings, God has given us grace anyways. We don't deserve his mercy and grace, but he gives it to us because he loves us. We have so much to be thankful for, as none of us deserve eternal life. It is only because of what Jesus did for us on the cross that we can have eternal life. At the end of the day, that is all that really matters.
"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. "
God loves us! God loved us so much that he gave his one and only son for us to save us from eternal darkness. This should be enough to give him thanks!
1st Thessalonians 5:18
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
"Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness."
"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever."
Christians are supposed to be thankful people. The word "grace" and the word "grateful" come from the same word. So, if you have received God's amazing grace by God's amazing gift, you are supposed to be a grateful person.
Jesus Christ always thanked God before doing anything. He thanked God prior to performing the miracles. He also thanked God prior to the establishment of Holy Qurbana.
So, giving thanks to God is an important Christian practice. It has to be done everyday as part of prayer. It should be part of our communion with God. With this in mind, Malankara World has a special Thanksgiving Supplement that provides numerous devotionals, sermons, articles, hymns, prayers etc. dealing exclusively with thanksgiving. We hope that you will visit this section to get nourished spiritually. We will be adding on to this section as time goes on. You can access the Malankara World Thanksgiving Section here:
This is also a good time for us to thank almighty God for His blessings to continue this ministry of Malankara World. We also want to thank each and every one of you for your support in this venture.
2. Bible Readings for This Sunday
St. Mary's visit to Elizabeth
St. Luke 8: 1- 3
St. Luke 10: 38-42
Before Holy Qurbana
Genesis 1: 24 - 31, 24: 15-38
Judges 4: 4 -16
1 Samuel 25 :1-35
II Kings 5: 1 -5
Ester 4:1- 17
Proverbs 14:1; 19:14; 31:10 -31
I Peter 3:1 -7
I Timothy 2: 9 - 15 , 3:11 -13
St. Luke 1:39-56
3. Sermons for This Sunday
St. Mary's visit to Elizabeth
As soon as Mary learns from the angel that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant, she hastily makes a long trip to visit her. The purpose of the trip was also to get some soothing comfort as Mary knew that she has a a difficult life ahead due to the virgin conception. This part of the scripture also contains one of the most beautiful and important poetry in bible known as Magnificat. Inspired by the words spoken by Elizabeth on prompting of her baby, Mary spells out this inspired poem by the Holy Spirit.
We have pointed out last week, while discussing the annunciation to St. Mary, that "one of the most important themes of the New Testament is that God chooses the lowly to accomplish the divine purposes. This statement is symbolic of God choosing the foolish to shame the wise, the poor more than the rich, the sick more than the healthy."
The Gospel of Luke has been called the Gospel of the Poor because there are so many references to that gospels bias for poor people. The Magnificat has been called the most revolutionary document in the world because it reverses the values of the world and turns them upside down.
"The Magnificat clearly tells us of Gods compassion for the economically poor; and when Gods Spirit gets inside of Christians, we too have a renewed compassion and action for the economically poor. Our hearts are turned upside down.
Listen carefully to the words of the Magnificat. Not the poetry of the words, not the beauty of the words, not the loveliness of the words. Listen to the five important verbs. In the Magnificat, God tells us that God regards or respects the poor, exalts the poor, feeds the poor, helps the poor, remembers the poor.
In that same chapter in Luke, we hear the story that God chose a slave girl, Mary, to be the mother of Jesus. God didnt chose the beauty queen of Ballard; God didnt chose a mother who was a millionaire; God didnt chose a bride with brains. God chose a little thirteen year old girl from a fourth world country, with dark skin and dark brown eyes and dark brown hair to be the mother of Jesus.
The Bible didnt call her a handmaiden. The word, 'handmaiden,' sounds so pretty. The Greek word is, 'doulos,' which means slave or servant. Mary was a servant girl. God exalted a servant girl from a third world country to be exalted and lifted up.
And this servant girl sang her song and it is called the Song of Mary. It is not that Mary actually sang a song, but these Bible verses have been called 'The Song of Mary.' The actual words are revolutionary. The Song of Mary is a revolutionary bombshell because it turns the values of this world upside down." - Edward F. Markquart, Seattle, WA
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources this week to cover this important scriptural passage and to present the different theological angles of this story.
Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses on the Sunday of St. Mary Visits Elizabeth
Malankara World also has a special supplement on St. Mary that covers the entire Mariology including an important book by our Holy Father.
Malankara World Special on St. Mary http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/shunoyo/StMary.htm
4. Inspiration for Today- Magnificat
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
5. Featured: Thankfulness for Thanksgiving
Over the years, the original religious meaning of Thanksgiving has been vanishing from the day, along with its place as a separate holiday. Todays Thanksgiving feasts now usually consists of lots of food, fellowship and football. Less emphasis is on thanking God for his good providence in the lives of the participants. This is a marked departure from the early celebrations, which were tied to gratitude of Gods mercy and provision.
Indeed, the whole purpose of the first Thanksgiving was to give thanks to God for a successful corn harvest. On a November day in 1621, Pilgrims from Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts invited the Wampanoag Indians to share a feast. That celebration, which became known as Americas first Thanksgiving, was followed by a second celebration two years later to give thanks to God after the end of a long drought. Throughout the New England colonies from that time onward, days of thanksgiving and fasting to God were held annually or occasionally... continue reading
6. Book Excerpt: With Christ In the School of Prayer - Lesson 14: Prayer, Forgiveness and Love
"And whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." - Mark 11:25
Faith and love are essential to each other.
These words follow immediately on the great prayer-promise, All things whatsoever ye pray, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them. We have already seen how the words that preceded that promise, Have faith in God, taught us that in prayer all depends upon our relation to God being clear; these words that follow on it remind us that our relation with fellow-men must be clear too.
Love to God and love to our neighbour are inseparable: the prayer from a heart, that is either not right with God on the one side, or with men on the other, cannot prevail. Faith and love are essential to each other.
...first be reconciled to thy brother...
We find that this is a thought to which our Lord frequently gave expression. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:23, 24), when speaking of the sixth commandment, He taught His disciples how impossible acceptable worship to the Father was if everything were not right with the brother: If thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
And so later, when speaking of prayer to God, after having taught us to pray, Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors, He added at the close of the prayer: If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses... Continue Reading
Previous Lessons (Archive)
7. Thanksgiving Message
by Brian Thetford
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. - Psalm 118: 1
550 BC (for the sake of argument) is when this Psalm was written. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good
Fast forward to 1621 in a little colony in what is now Massachusetts, we again see people gathering together to give thanks. Who were they giving thanks to?
Did they throw the celebration as thanks to the Indians for not killing them?
Was it done to show the people back in England and Holland how successful they were in the new colony?
Maybe they did it as a way to share recipes and showcase the latest trends in fine colony dining
No of course not. The remaining Pilgrims gathered together to give thanks to God!
They gathered together as a group to lift their hearts and voices in prayer, song and joyful thanks for the blessings God had poured out upon them.
Moving even further ahead to tomorrow, who will we give thanks to? Each other?
What will our cause of celebration be? Our football team won? We dont have to go to the office?
Tomorrow, as the turkey cooks in the oven, the pies cool on the counter, and the houses are filled with family, and friends, let us all remember to give thanks to God, not for the simple things in our lives, but for the important ones. Our family, our friends, the bountiful meal that will be enjoyed, the time that we have set aside to revel in the blessings that the Lord has given
Tomorrow let us lift our voices in prayer, song, and joyful thanks; just as the pilgrims did a couple hundred years ago, just like the Psalmist did a couple of thousand years ago.
For what was true then is still very true now. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, be blessed, and thank God.
Read more Thanksgiving devotionals, sermons, articles and recipes in Malankara World Thanksgiving Supplement:
8. Thanksgiving, the Prophets, and the Eucharist
In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post on why Thanksgiving is central to the Church's Eucharistic theology--highlighting some ancient Jewish roots that are often overlooked.
The Prophets and Cultic Sacrifice in the Future Age
In the Old Testament it is clear that in the messianic / eschatological cultic offerings will not come to an end. To think otherwise would be to be profoundly unJewish.
One sacrifice especially linked with the future ingathering of Israel is the thank offering (or the tôdâ). The tôdâ was one of the peace-offerings. Specifically, this category of sacrifice seems to be linked with the idea of deliverance; in fact, the LXX describes them as θυσίας σωτηρίου, a sacrifice of salvation/deliverance (cf. LXX Lev 7:11).
It is not surprising then that Jewish texts link this sacrifice to the future deliverance of Israel in the eschatological age. For example, Psalm 107:22 describes those returning from exile, saying, let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!  In addition, Jeremiah 33:1011 reads .... Continue reading
9. Thanksgiving is a Theological Act
Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act, rightly understood. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is a theology in microcosm - a key to understanding what we really believe about God, ourselves, and the world we experience.
A haunting question is this: How do atheists observe Thanksgiving? I can easily understand that an atheist or agnostic would think of fellow human beings and feel led to express thankfulness and gratitude to all those who, both directly and indirectly, have contributed to their lives. But what about the blessings that cannot be ascribed to human agency? Those are both more numerous and more significant, ranging from the universe we experience to the gift of life itself.
Can one really be thankful without being thankful to someone? It makes no sense to express thankfulness to a purely naturalistic system. The late Stephen Jay Gould, an atheist and one of the foremost paleontologists and evolutionists of his day, described human life as but a tiny, late-arising twig on lifes enormously arborescent bush. Gould was a clear-headed evolutionist who took the theory of evolution to its ultimate conclusion - human life is merely an accident, though a very happy accident for us. Within that worldview, how does thankfulness work? .. Continue Reading
10. Recipe: Turkey casserole
Great for the Thanksgiving leftover Turkey
11. Second Graders' Advice on How to cook a Turkey
Each year, the (Richmond) Register asks one class of students in Madison County how they would cook a turkey.
This year, Laura Martins second-graders at White Hall Elementary School were given the opportunity to respond.
Here are their responses:
Abigail: You should go in the woods and kill it, so it wont go wild. Take the feathers off. Put the stuffing in it. Put it in the oven on 200 degrees and cook for 25 minutes.
Daniel: First, you have to have a turkey. Then, you clean the turkey. We put it in the oven. Finally, we eat it.
Mason: Cut the turkey parts off. Then, you cook and clean the turkey. Last, you salt and pepper it and eat it.
Izzy: First, buy or hunt a turkey. Put the turkey in the stove and set heat to 200 degrees or 250 degrees. Next, set timer for 30 minutes. Finally, cut and eat turkey. ... Continue Reading
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In HIS Service
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World Journal
ID No: 956