Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks to God

Tonight the two younger boys and I had an early dinner before driving down to Alpine, the town halfway between our mountain home and the suburbs of San Diego. Alpine has a population of about 15,000 people -- ten times as many people as our village. Whereas our town has only two churches, Lutheran and a non-denominational community church, Alpine boasts a wide assortment of churches, many gathered together under The Alpine Christian Ministerial Association.

Tonight several churches came together to worship and give thanks to God on this Thanksgiving Eve. J and three other Free Teen Guitar Class kids along with musicians from another church, all led by Father Keith Acker of Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity, led us all in worship.

Blessed Trinity hosted the gathering tonight in their usual place of worship: the auditorium of Alpine Elementary. Pastor Steve Benson of Lift High the Cross Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod gave the sermon. I missed the name of the priest from Alpine's Catholic Church, Queen of Angels, but he read one of the three Bible passages. Musicians from Bethel Assembly of God joined the guitar students to provide worship music.

We started the time of worship with these opening verses (responses of the people are in bold):
Come, let us give thanks for the wonderful blessings of God!
For we have been given a wonderful land, rich and able to feed us.
And our nation was founded on the principle of faith in God.
But we have grown prosperous and not all remember God's gifts.
Then let it begin with us, and let us give thanks to our loving God.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!
So on this Thanksgiving Eve, Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic, and Assembly of God Churches (and Father Acker included our family from Lake Murray Community Church, although we're in La Mesa, not Alpine) worshiped together and thanked God for His grace and mercy, good gifts and hard gifts, and, most of all, for His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Reading from the English Standard Version (what we also use at Lake Murray and also used by Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity), we listened to readings from Deuteronomy 8:10-18, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 17:11-19, and a responsibe reading of Psalm 100. We sang "Forever," (one we sang often at Lake Murray), "Give Thanks," "Give Thanks, All Ye People," "We Gather Together," and finished singing with the Doxology.

I really enjoyed "A Thanksgiving Litany":
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Creator of the universe
We thank you, Lord.
You feed the hungry and clothe the naked.
We thank you, Lord.
You set free those who are bound.
We thank you, Lord.
You raise up those whose courage falters.
We thank you, Lord.
You provide for our every need.
We thank you, Lord.
You have called us to be your people.
We thank you, Lord.
You bless your people with peace.
We thank you, Lord.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, maker of all things.
We thank you, Lord.
So spending Thanksgiving Eve worshiping and thanking our Lord and God with His people was simply perfect -- especially as the service in Alpine gathered Catholics and Lutherans, Anglicans and Assemblies of God, plus a few Evangelical Free/Anglicans to boot. It was a little taste of heaven right here on earth, a new ecumenism for which I am extremely thankful this Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

Anne said...

What a great blessing that must have been to share gratitude to God with so many faith traditions!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


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