Thanksgiving day is this month, of course. But thanksgiving is more than a day. It is just one aspect of worship, and worship is the life of the church and of each Christian. Jesus said, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (Jn 4:23) The Father seeks worshipers. Are you a worshiper?
Thanksgiving Day is rooted in the Pilgrims. While some details of that day are apocryphal tales, the rock bottom truth is that the Pilgrims came to America to establish a new life for themselves. They wanted that life to be centered on Jesus Christ. They suffered horribly during the first winter. Over half their number died of starvation and disease. AND YET when their first harvest came in, they held a feast of thanksgiving.
I’m not sure that American Christians today view worship with the same fervor as did the Pilgrims. For us, worship is an option competing with a plethora of choice. And often, if our action is any measure, worship is the last choice on the list.
It is true that Christians can worship in places other than a worship service. In fact, we should be worshiping every moment.
However, the fact that we can worship in places other than church doesn’t mean the church service can be replaced. No, it is supplemented by private worship. But church is when we worship together.
“The Sunday morning church service is generally recognized as the church’s chief expression of itself to its community. ” (Haley’s Bible Handbook, p. 835) The worship service says there is a living God, and God is worth our praise. The worship service serves the worshipers who gather by centering their lives around Disciple-Living.
Someone may say that because I am a pastor I get paid to go to church. But that is not why I go. I go to church to worship. My God has given me life. Every breath I draw is by his mercy. I am blessed with a wonderful family, grandchildren, and my daughter’s in-laws are friends and Christians. I can buy fresh strawberries from Peru in the dead of winter. And beyond all this Jesus Christ gave up his life so that my sin could be washed away and I can stand in the presence of God as his child.
Thanksgiving Day is but a moment, a reminder to be thankful. Giving thanks is just one part of worship and I am called to be a worshiper of the one, true and living God. I pray that this Thanksgiving season you would seek a new desire for worship. Let us worship our God together for only he is deserving of our praise.
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