Aloha Friday Message – October 11, 2019 – Give Thanks …

1941AFC101119 – Give thanks … 

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Luke 17:15-16 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Leviticus 22:29 29 When you sacrifice a thanksgiving offering to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that it may be acceptable in your behalf.

1 Chronicles 16:8 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd! Earlier this week, the Lord sent me a suggestion about this post. He hinted that I should look at the word for. That’s kind of a funny word – for – because we use it so often without really thinking about what it does. It is a preposition that serves as a “function word.” It connects an action with an intended purpose or goal, and also as a word that connects with a perception or suitability (it’s for your own good). It can also stand in for the word because – “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.” If we look it up on one of those online dictionaries, we can see many more ways for is a handy little word indeed. For further information you can type “define for” in your browser and see other usages. For today, we are going to look at how it connects with the nouns thanks and thanksgiving, and the verb thank.

The title of this post is Give thanks …. Usually that phrase is followed by a preposition like for, in, with, upon, or with words that are used as prepositions or adverbs like by, through, over, or before; Give thanks is often followed as well by adverbs like always, around, or above. This little word for can lead us to dozens of combinations with thank-* (where * = -s, -giving, -ful, -ing, and so on).

In today’s Key Verse, the emphasis of the story is that only one out of ten lepers returned to Jesus to say thanks for healing him. Jesus adds that this singular man was a Samaritan – so many people in Jesus’ audience would have assumed the Samaritan would not or could not be thankful in Jesus’ presence. This man, this Samaritan, gave thanks to Jesus for healing with joy and reverent homage. He did that loudly, publicly, humbly kneeling at Jesus’ feet, and uniquely. Jesus added to that man’s blessing of healing the blessing of forgiveness. Jesus told him “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” It was not the act of returning to thank Jesus that made him well. Instead it was the act of obeying Jesus – to go and show himself to the Priests. This instruction is from Leviticus 14:2-9 which gives specific directions for the purification of someone afflicted with leprosy. Lepers were forbidden to have contact with others while still “unclean,” i.e., affected with a skin disease described as leprosy.

     The Samaritan in this story reminds us of other stories of Samaritans who encountered Jesus. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus sends The Twelve out to preach to “the lost sheep of Israel,” and commands them not to go to any Samaritan village. (See Matthew 10:5)

In Luke 9:52-56, Jesus is beginning his resolute journey to Jerusalem and comes to a Samaritan town. They will not receive him because of his destination, so Jesus and his disciples go to another village. Then again in Luke 10:25-37, it is a Samaritan who has compassion on the man attacked and injured by robbers – the Good Samaritan. This weekend’s Gospel reading is from Luke 17:11-19. We only know that one of the ten was a Samaritan, but because he returned to give thanks and homage, he is remembered.

In John 4:1-45, we have the marvelous account of The Samaritan Woman at the Well. It was through that woman than many in her village came to believe Jesus was indeed the Messiah. In John 8:39-59, the authorities even accuse him of being a Samaritan possessed by a demon. Their self-righteous status as “sons of Abraham” blinds them to “the Hope of Abraham and all the prophets.”

Lastly, in Acts 8:9-24, we have the account of Simon Magus – Simon the Sorcerer from Samaria – who was astonished at the miracles performed through the Apostle Phillip – and was baptized. Simon had become famous for his “magic,” and was even referred to by audiences as “Simon the Great.” But, when traveling with Phillip, he coveted the coming of the Holy Spirit to others after the laying on of hands by Peter and John and offered to buy the power to confer the Holy Spirit from the Apostles. Peter admonished him severely. Scripture states Simon asked for prayers so that “nothing of what you have said may happen to me.” Tradition relates that later he perpetuated the heresy of Gnosticism – a “way to salvation” that was based on “secret knowledge” known only to the perpetrators of that fraud.

All of these stories of Samaritans are told by Jesus for instruction of his Disciples – and that means they are for us, too. Most of these stories lead to a conversion – repentance followed by belief, which is in turn followed by blessing and thanksgiving. When we recognize that God is blessing us, we usually (hopefully) take time to follow the example of the Samaritan leper and give him thanks and praise. This combination occurs frequently in Scripture – so frequently that we cannot help but be aware that it’s “the right thing to do.” (As in “doing right things better and better things right.”) We give thanks for blessings to God with praise because “his steadfast love [mercy] endures forever.” That phrase – “his mercy endures forever” – occurs at least 300 times in the Bible! My favorite example of that is Psalm 136 which contains that phrase in every verse. Check it out. It’s the ultimate responsorial Psalm.

     Belovéd, there really are so many wonderful parts of our lives for which we can give thanks to our Almighty-Everliving God – our El Shaddai-Olam. Up there in the title, where you see the ellipse ( … ), start with one of the “functional words” I listed and then follow that with a blessing you yourself have experienced “so that it may be acceptable in your behalf.” Perhaps you are already tired of hearing about the importance of that “attitude of gratitude.” It is my experience that there is no greater joy in life than the joy found in gratitude. Think about it: When you are grateful, is that not a joyful moment that you can share with God and neighbor? Give thanks … because when we do, it affects the people around us. We can see that in 2 Corinthians 4:13-15 1But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”*—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.* (See Psalm 116:10)

We’ve been over the whole concept of “Count Your Blessings,” several times, but until we actually STOP and make time to do that, it is easy for us to rattle past our blessings as if they are in no way connected by that lovely little word for. Here’s a bit of what came up when I tried that: Give thanks …

  • To the Lord for he is good
  • For everything
  • In all things
  • Always and everywhere
  • In the morning
  • In the noon time
  • In the evening
  • At bedside in the night
  • For salvation
  • For Jesus
  • So that others will know this joy
  • For food, shelter, and meaningful work
  • For our family given to us by God
  • For friends, the family we choose
  • With all the assembly
  • In the presence of the Angels
  • Among the heathen and pagan
  • To make God’s deeds known
  • That we may give God glory and praise

One of the phrases I often use is “adoration, thanksgiving, and praise.” Adore and adoration are not in the Bible per se, but the concept is. In Exodus 3:5 and Joshua 5:15 it is removing one’s sandals. In other places, it is making a profound bow with one’s face toward – or even on – the ground as in Genesis 17:3, Ruth 2:10, and Daniel 3:3-6. In this posture one of the most beautiful biblical prayers is found in Revelation 7:11-12 11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” 

I give you thanks and praise

     And in like manner let all of our prayers of thanks and praise begin and end with AMEN! – for his mercy and steadfast kindness are from everlasting to everlasting and we exult with the Psalmist and pray, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” For what shall we give thanks today, Belovéd? I shall give thanks for you, with you, and about you so that” it extends to more and more people, [and] may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” Thanks for tuning in! See ya next week as we return to Jesus – same time, same station – to thank and praise our God with a LOUD voice to make known his deeds among the peoples. AMEN!!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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