OPIN­ION

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good

The Covington News - - RELIGION -

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love en­dures for­ever” (Psalm 106:1, NIV).

We have just cel­e­brated Thanks­giv­ing. I hope you and yours had a blessed one. You know the his­tory. Af­ter a bit­ter two-month sea jour­ney the Pil­grims landed in the new world. Set­ting foot in the new land, they im­me­di­ately gath­ered for a prayer ser­vice be­fore set­ting out to build shel­ter. They were se­verely un­pre­pared for the harsh New Eng­land win­ter that was ap­proach­ing.

The win­ter (1620) wreaked havoc on the new colony. Nearly half of their pop­u­la­tion died; the Pil­grims were be­friended by mem­bers of the Wam­panoag Tribe. The In­di­ans taught the naive colonists about fish­ing, plant­ing and hunt­ing, thereby en­sur­ing their sur­vival. When the fall of 1621 be­gan to set in, they had reaped a boun­ti­ful har­vest and pre­served enough food to al­low them to sur­vive the com­ing win­ter, thanks to their In­dian neigh­bors.

As an ex­pres­sion of their thanks to God, the colonists hosted a three-day feast to cel­e­brate the har­vest and the trans­for­ma­tion of their for­tunes from the pre­vi­ous win­ter. This meal to­day is thought of as the first Thanks­giv­ing. Thanks­giv­ing day fi­nally be­came an of­fi­cial hol­i­day when in 1841 Congress set aside the last Thurs­day in Novem­ber to mark the oc­ca­sion.

We in Amer­ica truly have a lot for which we should thank­ful. We en­joy a higher stan­dard of liv­ing than any where else on the face of the globe. We have free­doms that I fear too of­ten we take for granted. Our health care sys­tem is the best in the world. Most en­joy elec­tric­ity and in­door plum­ing in even the re­motest sec­tions of our land. We have heat in the win­ter and air con­di­tion­ing in the sum­mer. We have one of the most ex­ten­sive and de­vel­oped road­way sys­tems in the world and the avail­abil­ity of ve­hi­cles to get us where we want to go. We have been and con­tinue to be a great land of op­por­tu­nity. For all th­ese things I am thank­ful.

But in our cel­e­bra­tions it is im­per­a­tive that we re­mem­ber the source of our bless­ings. Our first Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton wrote, “Whereas it is the duty of all na­tions to ac­knowl­edge the prov­i­dence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grate­ful for his ben­e­fits, and humbly to im­plore his pro­tec­tion and fa­vor … Now, there­fore, I do ap­point Thurs­day, the 26th day of Novem­ber 1789 . . . that we may all unite to ren­der unto him our sin­cere and hum­ble thanks for his kind care and pro­tec­tion.” I want to re­mind you that he also said, “Do not let any­one claim to be a true Amer­i­can if they ever at­tempt to re­move re­li­gion from pol­i­tics.” To­day there is a con­certed ef­fort to shut out of the pub­lic life the very be­liefs that made this na­tion great, the be­liefs that have re­sulted in the great ben­e­fits we en­joy. We are a na­tion that has been blessed by God. We dare not pre­sume upon those bless­ings. Past bless­ings do not equate to fu­ture bless­ings. Just as surely as God has blessed us in the past, he can and will curse us if we con­tinue in our ef­forts to re­move him from our pub­lic lives. The Bi­ble says, “See, I am set­ting be­fore you to­day a bless­ing and a curse — the bless­ing if you obey the com­mands of the Lord your God that I am giv­ing you to­day; the curse if you dis­obey the com­mands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I com­mand you to­day by fol­low­ing other gods, which you have not known” (Deuteron­omy 11:26-28, NIV). And, “Be­cause of the Lord’s great love we are not con­sumed, for his com­pas­sions never fail” (Lamen­ta­tions 3:22, NIV).

I am thank­ful for so many things. I am thank­ful for my coun­try. I am thank­ful for my fam­ily. Most of all I am thank­ful for the love of God demon­strated for me and for you on the cross of Cal­vary. The Bi­ble says, “But God demon­strates his own love for us in this: While we were still sin­ners, Christ died for us” (Ro­mans 5:8, NIV).

This Thanks­giv­ing I hope you will stop and give thanks to the Lord for his love, mercy and grace. May we say with the Psalmist, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never for­get the good things he does for me” (Psalm 103:2, NLT).

John Pear­rell

Colum­nist

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