Aloha Friday Message – May 30, 2014 – Give Thanks to the LORD

1422AFC063014 – Give thanks to the LORD

Read it online here, please.

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; his lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 103:17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children …

(NLT) 1 Thessalonians 5:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Aloha pumehana, Beloved. This message today is a departure from what I had planned. Normally I would point out that yesterday, Thursday, May 29, 2014, was Ascension Day. In my “calendar of significant events,” this usually holds top place. I can think of nothing in Scripture that means more to me than Luke’s description of the Ascension in Acts 1:6-11 especially the last verse 11, which says: “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” I’ve addressed this before. The very idea that this SAME Jesus is coming back “in clouds of glory” is often more than I can get my head around. And yet, Jesus himself had told the disciples that “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:2-3) I find I am in full agreement with the Psalmist when he said, “Such knowledge is beyond me, far too lofty for me to reach.” (Psalm 139:6) And so, this week, rather than go into all the reasons why “this same Jesus” blows me away, I want to tell you how it makes me feel (other than stupefied by its implications). I feel grateful.

All this week, the refrain from a common responsorial Psalm has played over and over, hundreds – perhaps thousands of times. It is in my head as “background music” even as I type. It is one of the most repeated phrases in the Bible appearing dozens of times in the Old Testament and often quoted or referred to in the New Testament. The refrain goes, “Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; His love is everlasting.” I want to take that apart starting with “give thanks.

In some translations, this combination of words is preceded by the interjection O! which intensifies the verb used for give thanks. The Psalmist emphasizes that to give thanks to God is that which flows naturally out of our understanding of his great mercy – love, lovingkindness, goodness, gracious love – which is given to us in such abundance that we cannot comprehend the magnitude of the gift. There is more love, mercy, and grace than could ever be exhausted by every soul who ever has lived, is living, or will yet live. Our paltry ability to thank God for this gift is the best we can do in our human condition; and, God knows this as well, it is also the least gift we can give because of our humanness. Still, the priests and prophets God sent to make us aware of this remind us again and again that we should always thank God for everything – literally everything.

The word used for thanks is הֹד֣וּ (yadah) {yaw-daw’}, and it’s a bit more than just “thanks.” It is to confess the name of God, to give praise, to revere or worship with extended hands. It is a joyous exclamation which rises up from our deepest soul where our identity with the Spirit of God is strongest. I have often said, “If I didn’t believe it, it would be incredible.” The power and magnitude of God’s mercy is so majestic it is … hard to believe; yet, there it is in front of us, around us, and inside us. We know it is there because of the exultation we feel when we confess it. God is GOOD! All the time! (All the time, God is GOOD!) We know it. We believe it. We confess it. We proclaim it. We shout with joy because it is true. He is Good.

This good is also something so superlative that we scarce can comprehend it. God has shown us, over and over, that he is fair, beautiful, pleasant, beneficent (even Omnibenevolent), giving as his bounty all that brings us happiness, peace, joy, and love. Because it is God’s goodness, it is perfect goodness, and there is more of that than we can ever use up as well.

Lovingkindness is something we examined in the Mercy Series this past Advent. It is mercy, compassion, kindness, consideration, care, fairness, goodness, mercy, pity, loyalty, covenant-love, and Godly tenderness. All of these words evoke the idea of unconditional love, love without equivocation, love that is true whether you know it or not, whether you believe it or not, whether you feel it or not. THAT is the Love of God! And, thinking back to stating that previously stated as an identity expression …

GOD ≡ LIGHT ≡ LOVE ≡ TRUTH ≡ WAY ≡ LIFE ≡ ETERNAL ≡ MERCY ≡ GOD

And all of that “endureth forever.” This word forever is one we’ve seen before, too. It is עוֹלָם (‘olam) as in El Shaddai Olam – The Almighty Everliving God. This part is the easiest to understand. It is God’s Mercy, so of course it “endureth forever.” It is from antiquity to futurity, from forever before to forever after: Eternal. It has always been there as God has always been there. It is there now as God is there now. It will always be there as God will always be there. It is I AM THAT I AM.

I thank God for that. He is Good, all the time, everywhere, in every circumstance, in all things, no matter what happens, he is there, and he is GOOD. That kind of GOOD is most definitely GOOD enough for me! and I am grateful for that. Always.

 

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!

 

chick 🙂

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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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