Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 1 No. 40 November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Special

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St. Mary visits Elizabeth
St. Mary Visits Elizabeth
Table of Contents
Editor's Note
Today is celebrated as Thanksgiving Day in USA. Most of the people these days associate it with the beginning of Christmas Shopping. However, thanksgiving is a deeply theological act. The pilgrims gathered together to thank God for His blessings on the first thanksgiving day. There are many scripture references that are related to giving thanks.

Psalm 95:2-3
"Let us come before him with Thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods."

God commands us to give him thanks. Thanksgiving is a time for us to glorify his name through praise and worship. Giving praise to the Lord is closely related to giving thanks to God. This is one of the best ways to praise God for just how great he is in our lives.

1 Corinthians 1:4-5
"I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way--- in all your speaking and in all your knowledge."

We are not worthy of the love that God has for us. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Despite our own shortcomings, God has given us grace anyways. We don't deserve his mercy and grace, but he gives it to us because he loves us. We have so much to be thankful for, as none of us deserve eternal life. It is only because of what Jesus did for us on the cross that we can have eternal life. At the end of the day, that is all that really matters.

Ephesians 1:15-16
"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. "

God loves us! God loved us so much that he gave his one and only son for us to save us from eternal darkness. This should be enough to give him thanks!

1st Thessalonians 5:18
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Psalm 30:4
"Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness."

Psalm 106:1
"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever."

Christians are supposed to be thankful people. The word "grace" and the word "grateful" come from the same word. So, if you have received God's amazing grace by God's amazing gift, you are supposed to be a grateful person.

Jesus Christ always thanked God before doing anything. He thanked God prior to performing the miracles. He also thanked God prior to the establishment of Holy Qurbana.

So, giving thanks to God is an important Christian practice. It has to be done everyday as part of prayer. It should be part of our communion with God. With this in mind, Malankara World has a special Thanksgiving Supplement that provides numerous devotionals, sermons, articles, hymns, prayers etc. dealing exclusively with thanksgiving. We hope that you will visit this section to get nourished spiritually. We will be adding on to this section as time goes on. You can access the Malankara World Thanksgiving Section here:

This is also a good time for us to thank almighty God for His blessings to continue this ministry of Malankara World. We also want to thank each and every one of you for your support in this venture.

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday
Sermons for This Sunday
St. Mary's visit to Elizabeth

As soon as Mary learns from the angel that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant, she hastily makes a long trip to visit her. The purpose of the trip was also to get some soothing comfort as Mary knew that she has a a difficult life ahead due to the virgin conception. This part of the scripture also contains one of the most beautiful and important poetry in bible known as Magnificat. Inspired by the words spoken by Elizabeth on prompting of her baby, Mary spells out this inspired poem by the Holy Spirit.

We have pointed out last week, while discussing the annunciation to St. Mary, that "one of the most important themes of the New Testament is that God chooses the lowly to accomplish the divine purposes. This statement is symbolic of God choosing the foolish to shame the wise, the poor more than the rich, the sick more than the healthy."

The Gospel of Luke has been called the Gospel of the Poor because there are so many references to that gospel’s bias for poor people. The Magnificat has been called the most revolutionary document in the world because it reverses the values of the world and turns them upside down.

"The Magnificat clearly tells us of God’s compassion for the economically poor; and when God’s Spirit gets inside of Christians, we too have a renewed compassion and action for the economically poor. Our hearts are turned upside down.

Listen carefully to the words of the Magnificat. Not the poetry of the words, not the beauty of the words, not the loveliness of the words. Listen to the five important verbs. In the Magnificat, God tells us that God regards or respects the poor, exalts the poor, feeds the poor, helps the poor, remembers the poor.

In that same chapter in Luke, we hear the story that God chose a slave girl, Mary, to be the mother of Jesus. God didn’t chose the beauty queen of Ballard; God didn’t chose a mother who was a millionaire; God didn’t chose a bride with brains. God chose a little thirteen year old girl from a fourth world country, with dark skin and dark brown eyes and dark brown hair to be the mother of Jesus.

The Bible didn’t call her a handmaiden. The word, 'handmaiden,' sounds so pretty. The Greek word is, 'doulos,' which means slave or servant. Mary was a servant girl. God exalted a servant girl from a third world country to be exalted and lifted up.

And this servant girl sang her song and it is called the Song of Mary. It is not that Mary actually sang a song, but these Bible verses have been called 'The Song of Mary.' The actual words are revolutionary. The Song of Mary is a revolutionary bombshell because it turns the values of this world upside down." - Edward F. Markquart, Seattle, WA

We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources this week to cover this important scriptural passage and to present the different theological angles of this story.

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses on the Sunday of St. Mary Visits Elizabeth

Malankara World also has a special supplement on St. Mary that covers the entire Mariology including an important book by our Holy Father.

Malankara World Special on St. Mary

More Sermons

This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.

He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.


Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
ancíllæ suæ.

Ecce enim ex hoc beátam
me dicent omnes generatiónes,
quia fecit mihi magna,
qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericórdia eius in progénies
et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo,
dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;
depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum,
recordátus misericórdiæ,
sicut locútus est ad patres nostros,
Ábraham et sémini eius in sæcula.

Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum.


Featured: Thankfulness for Thanksgiving

by Sarah Hamaker

A walk through a JC Penney department store in late October proclaimed the Christmas holiday in full swing. Garlands with red and green balls dangled from the ceiling and Santa references adorned walls and displays. One would think December 25 mere days away instead of eight-plus weeks in the future.

With more retailers pushing Christmas by putting up decorations and advertising holiday items before Halloween, the November holiday of Thanksgiving has been pushed to the margins of our busy lives. “I think what has happened is that we have put the ‘holidays’ into one big blob,” says Judy Christie, author of Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmas: Having the Holiday Season You Long For. “ We tend to always be looking ahead — we don’t enjoy each moment the way we could. … It’s really part of our culture to rush ahead.”

First Thanksgiving

Over the years, the original religious meaning of Thanksgiving has been vanishing from the day, along with its place as a separate holiday. Today’s Thanksgiving feasts now usually consists of lots of food, fellowship and football. Less emphasis is on thanking God for his good providence in the lives of the participants. This is a marked departure from the early celebrations, which were tied to gratitude of God’s mercy and provision.

Indeed, the whole purpose of the first Thanksgiving was to give thanks to God for a successful corn harvest. On a November day in 1621, Pilgrims from Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts invited the Wampanoag Indians to share a feast. That celebration, which became known as America’s first Thanksgiving, was followed by a second celebration two years later to give thanks to God after the end of a long drought. Throughout the New England colonies from that time onward, days of thanksgiving and fasting to God were held annually or occasionally.

In 1789, President George Washington established the new nation’s first Thanksgiving. Twenty-eight years later, New York was the first state to officially mark an annual Thanksgiving holiday. In 1863, during the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday the last Thursday in November.

That practice continued until 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt switched Thanksgiving to a week earlier in an effort to jumpstart retail sales for the Christmas holidays during the Great Depression. However, backlash against the change had Roosevelt signing a bill in 1941 to move the holiday back to the fourth Thursday in November, where it resides to this day.

“Thanksgiving is one of the purest holidays,” says William Thrasher, a graduate professor of Bible and theology at Moody Bible Institute and author of Putting God Back in the Holidays. “Thanksgiving doesn’t have the clutter that other holidays have.”

The day set aside to give thanks has no presents or much in the way of decorations associated with the holiday. “We should consider Thanksgiving as the beginning of the season of celebrating God’s abundance. We should treat Thanksgiving as a day of conversation and family time,” says Christie.

A Thankful Heart

Lately, people have begun viewing Thanksgiving as the beginning of the Christmas holidays. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a “negative trigger” for the approaching Christmas season, says Christie. “I like to think of it as the perfect day to change your outlook.”

With a little planning and thought, we can turn Thanksgiving into an attitude check for the rest of the year. “Thanksgiving heralds a really special time of the year,” says Christie. “We can use preparations for Thanksgiving as a way to identify what our priorities are and make decisions that align with our priorities.”

She suggests making a list now about how you want Thanksgiving and Christmas to look and feel like. “Think about how you want your year to end,” says Christie. “Thanksgiving is the start of a season full of joy and peace, so jot down some words to describe the season and write down what you’re thankful for.”

Here are some more ways to recapture the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

Focus on praise.

Giving God praise can take the spotlight off of ourselves. “Scripture says we should praise God,” says Thrasher. He recommends using Bible verses, such as those from Romans 5 and 8, and Ephesians 1, to “prime the pump” of praise.

Expect things to go right.

How many times do we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas thinking about all the things that could go wrong? Reorienting our thinking can make the season less stressful and more meaningful. “I’m a big believer in getting rid of Murphy’s Law that says ‘anything that can go wrong, will go wrong,’” says Christie. “How many of us focus on that instead of teaching our families to focus on anything that can go right, will go right?”

Write thank-you notes.

Use November to write letters of thanks to those who have done something for you that you appreciated. Even children can find this activity rewarding, and you may be pleasantly surprised at what they are thankful for.

Have a prayer of thanksgiving before meals.

Asking God to bless our food and families might seem like a no-brainer, but can be one of the things lost in our busy days. “That’s very simple, but in our rushed lives, it’s very easy to overlook,” says Christie.

Hold off on Christmas decorations.

Don’t put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. “Doing Christmas decorating earlier doesn’t allow you time to savor Thanksgiving,” says Christie.

Count your blessings.

Even if things are less-than-ideal now, most of us have things—both big and small—for which we can give thanks. “Two years ago on the day before Thanksgiving, my daughter was in an accident that nearly took her life,” says Cherilyn Fienen of Independence, Kan. “So the following year, I made a very big deal about Thanksgiving to celebrate the anniversary and to give thanks for her life.”

Give of yourself.

Whether it’s helping out a neighbor or fellow church member in need or volunteering at a soup kitchen, serving others “makes our time more fulfilling and meaningful,” says Christie. Even if you can’t give monetarily, giving of your time can be a blessing to others during the holiday season.

Putting Thanksgiving in its proper place can help us to enter the Christmas season with a more joyful and relaxed attitude. “Thanksgiving is something we have to embrace ourselves,” says Fienen. “We have to make it as big and special as Christmas with our own Thanksgiving traditions and fun.”

“Even on our worst days, most of us have been given more than many people in the world,” reminds Christie. “I think Thanksgiving is an important day because it allows us to say ‘thank you’ to God for all we have been given.”

[ Editor's Note: Sarah Hamaker is a freelance writer and editor, and author of Hired @ Home: The Christian Mother's Guide to Working From Home. She lives in Fairfax, Va. Visit her at]

Book: 'With Christ In the School of Prayer' by Andrew Murray

Lesson 14: Prayer, Forgiveness and Love
[Editor's Note: Here is this week's lesson from the book, 'With Christ in the School of Prayer' by Andrew Murray. This book is a very important reference book on intercessional prayer, something Orthodox Church believes in greatly. Murray skillfully describes the role of the Holy Spirit within the church and exhorts Christians to use the blessings God has given us. This book is a guide to living a life as a temple of the Holy Spirit. If you have missed the earlier lessons, please read them in Malankara World.]

"And whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." - Mark 11:25

Faith and love are essential to each other.

These words follow immediately on the great prayer-promise, All things whatsoever ye pray, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them. We have already seen how the words that preceded that promise, Have faith in God, taught us that in prayer all depends upon our relation to God being clear; these words that follow on it remind us that our relation with fellow-men must be clear too.

Love to God and love to our neighbour are inseparable: the prayer from a heart, that is either not right with God on the one side, or with men on the other, cannot prevail. Faith and love are essential to each other.

...first be reconciled to thy brother...

We find that this is a thought to which our Lord frequently gave expression. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:23, 24), when speaking of the sixth commandment, He taught His disciples how impossible acceptable worship to the Father was if everything were not right with the brother: If thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

And so later, when speaking of prayer to God, after having taught us to pray, Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors, He added at the close of the prayer: If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

...nothing gives such liberty of access and such power in believing as the consciousness that we have given ourselves in love and compassion, for those whom God loves.

At the close of the parable of the unmerciful servant He applies His teaching in the words: So shall also my Heavenly Father do unto you, if ye forgive not every one his brother from your hearts. And so here, beside the dried-up fig-tree, where He speaks of the wonderful power of faith and the prayer of faith, He all at once, apparently without connection, introduces the thought, Whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

It is as if the Lord had learned during His life at Nazareth and afterwards that disobedience to the law of love to men was the great sin even of praying people, and the great cause of the feebleness of their prayer. And it is as if He wanted to lead us into His own blessed experience that nothing gives such liberty of access and such power in believing as the consciousness that we have given ourselves in love and compassion, for those whom God loves.

The deep sure ground of answer to prayer is God's forgiving love.

The first lesson taught here is that of a forgiving disposition. We pray, Forgive, even as we have forgiven. Scripture says, Forgive one another, even as God also in Christ forgave you. God's full and free forgiveness is to be the rule of ours with men. Otherwise our reluctant, half-hearted forgiveness, which is not forgiveness at all, will be God's rule with us. Every prayer rests upon our faith in God's pardoning grace.

If God dealt with us after our sins, not one prayer could be heard. Pardon opens the door to all God's love and blessing: because God has pardoned all our sin, our prayer can prevail to obtain all we need. The deep sure ground of answer to prayer is God's forgiving love. When it has taken possession of the heart, we pray in faith. But also, when it has taken possession of the heart, we live in love. .. Continue Reading in Malankara World

Previous Lessons (Archive)
Thanksgiving Message

by Brian Thetford

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. - Psalm 118: 1

550 BC (for the sake of argument) is when this Psalm was written. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good……

Fast forward to 1621 in a little colony in what is now Massachusetts, we again see people gathering together to give thanks. Who were they giving thanks to?

Did they throw the celebration as thanks to the Indians for not killing them?
Was it done to show the people back in England and Holland how successful they were in the new colony?
Maybe they did it as a way to share recipes and showcase the latest trends in fine colony dining…….

No of course not. The remaining Pilgrims gathered together to give thanks to God!
They gathered together as a group to lift their hearts and voices in prayer, song and joyful thanks for the blessings God had poured out upon them.

Moving even further ahead to tomorrow, who will we give thanks to? Each other?

What will our cause of celebration be? Our football team won? We don’t have to go to the office?

Tomorrow, as the turkey cooks in the oven, the pies cool on the counter, and the houses are filled with family, and friends, let us all remember to give thanks to God, not for the simple things in our lives, but for the important ones. Our family, our friends, the bountiful meal that will be enjoyed, the time that we have set aside to revel in the blessings that the Lord has given…..

Tomorrow let us lift our voices in prayer, song, and joyful thanks; just as the pilgrims did a couple hundred years ago, just like the Psalmist did a couple of thousand years ago.

For what was true then is still very true now. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, be blessed, and thank God.

Read more Thanksgiving devotionals, sermons, articles and recipes in Malankara World Thanksgiving Supplement:

Thanksgiving, the Prophets, and the Eucharist

by Michael Barber, Ph.D.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post on why Thanksgiving is central to the Church's Eucharistic theology--highlighting some ancient Jewish roots that are often overlooked.

The Prophets and Cultic Sacrifice in the Future Age

In the Old Testament it is clear that in the messianic / eschatological cultic offerings will not come to an end. To think otherwise would be to be profoundly “unJewish”.

One sacrifice especially linked with the future ingathering of Israel is the thank offering (or the tôdâ). The tôdâ was one of the peace-offerings.[1] Specifically, this category of sacrifice seems to be linked with the idea of deliverance; in fact, the LXX describes them as θυσίας σωτηρίου, a “sacrifice of salvation/deliverance” (cf. LXX Lev 7:11).

It is not surprising then that Jewish texts link this sacrifice to the future deliverance of Israel in the eschatological age. For example, Psalm 107:22 describes those returning from exile, saying, “let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!” [2] In addition, Jeremiah 33:10–11 reads:

10… there shall be heard again 11 the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord: ‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever!’ For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord (cf. also Jer 17:26).

It is interesting to note that, citing this passage, the rabbinic tradition explained: “In time to come all offerings will come to an end, but the thanksgiving-offering will never come to an end” (Pesiq. Rab. 9:12).[3]

Jesus, the Eucharist and the Thanksgiving Sacrifice

In my dissertation, I make the case that if Jesus saw himself as inaugurating the eschatological ingathering of Israel, as, e.g., his appointment of twelve apostles seems to symbolize, it should also be expected that he would have entertained the notion that there would be an eschatological cult?

But how did Jesus envision a new cult?

Is it merely coincidence then that all four accounts of the Institution Narrative highlight Jesus’ giving thanks (εὐχαριστέω)? Hartmut Gese has argued for a connection with the thank offering, observing that the rest of the passion narrative is especially linked with psalms which were closely linked with the tôdâ offering, e.g., Psalm 22.[4]

By itself, the language of giving thanks need not point to the tôdâ. However, especially given the fact that Jesus also seems to refer to Jeremiah’s new covenant prophecy, which is followed by a vision of the returning exiles bringing tôdâ sacrifices (cf. Jer 33:11), I am inclined to his proposal.

Much more could be said here; but I just thought I’d post this today to suggest that Thanksgiving is ultimately central to the Eucharistic theology of the Church. As Joseph Ratzinger, long before becoming Pope Benedict, once put it, “The Lord’s Supper is the toda of the Risen One.” [5]

Happy Thanksgiving!


[1] The principle prescriptions for this sacrifice are laid out in Leviticus 7:12-15. In addition, the tôdâ likely served as the life-setting for many of the psalms. For further discussion see David E. Stern, “Remembering and Redemption,” in Rediscovering the Eucharist: Ecumenical Conversations (ed. R. Keresztky; New York: Paulist Press, 2003), 11–12; Hartmut Gese, Zur biblischen Theologie, 117–22; Patrick D. Miller, They Cried to the Lord: The Form and Theology of Biblical Prayer (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994), 197–98; Herman Gunkel, Einleitung in die Psalmen: Die Gattungen der religiösen Lyrik Israels (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1933), 265–92.

[2] That the term tôdâ in such contexts refers to actual cultic sacrificial offerings and not simply a spiritual sacrifice is clear. See Norman Whybray, Reading the Psalms as a Book (JSOTSSup 222; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), 113 “. . . there can be no doubt that the reference to sacrificial offerings was literally intended. Whether or not a spiritualization of the reference was possible, there has once again been no editorial attempt to encourage this by textual alteration.” In addition, see Psalm 69 in which the tôdâ offering is linked with the hope of God saving Zion and rebuilding its walls (cf. Ps 69:30–35). Indeed, the superscription in the LXX (Εἰς τὸ τέλος, ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀλλοιωθησομένων, τῷ Δαυιδ) seems suggestive of eschatological undertones. See Mitchell, The Message of the Psalter, 19; Schaper, Eschatology in the Greek Psalter, 90; C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs, The Book of Psalms (ICC; 2 vols.; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1906-7), xcvii.

[3] Cited from Jacob Neusner, trans., Pesiqta deRab Kahana: An Analytical Translation (BJS 122; 2 vols.; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987), 1:151. See also Leviticus Rabbah 9:7, which, also quoting from Jeremiah 33:11, explains that in the eschatological age “all songs will be annulled except for [the tôdâ]” (cited from M. Simon, ed., Midrash Rabbah, IV: Leviticus [London/New York: Soncino Press, 1983], 114). See also Gese, Zur biblischen Theologie, 121–22.

[4] Hartmut Gese, Zur biblischen Theologie, 117–22. Likewise, see Richard H. Bell, Deliver Us from Evil (WUNT 216; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2007), 274–77; Jerome Kodell, The Eucharist in the New Testament (Collegeville: Michael Glazier, 1988), 48–50. In addition, see D. R. Lindsay, “Todah and Eucharist: The Celebration of the Lord’s Supper as a ‘Thank Offering’ in the Early Church,” Restoration Quarterly 39 (1997): 83–100.

[5] Feast of Faith (trans. Graham Harrison; San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 59.


Read more Thanksgiving devotionals, sermons, articles and recipes in Malankara World Thanksgiving Supplement:

Thanksgiving is a Theological Act

by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act, rightly understood. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is a theology in microcosm - a key to understanding what we really believe about God, ourselves, and the world we experience.

A haunting question is this: How do atheists observe Thanksgiving? I can easily understand that an atheist or agnostic would think of fellow human beings and feel led to express thankfulness and gratitude to all those who, both directly and indirectly, have contributed to their lives. But what about the blessings that cannot be ascribed to human agency? Those are both more numerous and more significant, ranging from the universe we experience to the gift of life itself.

Can one really be thankful without being thankful to someone? It makes no sense to express thankfulness to a purely naturalistic system. The late Stephen Jay Gould, an atheist and one of the foremost paleontologists and evolutionists of his day, described human life as “but a tiny, late-arising twig on life’s enormously arborescent bush.” Gould was a clear-headed evolutionist who took the theory of evolution to its ultimate conclusion - human life is merely an accident, though a very happy accident for us. Within that worldview, how does thankfulness work?

The Apostle Paul points to a central insight about thankfulness when he instructs the Christians in Rome about the reality and consequences of unbelief. After making clear that God has revealed himself to all humanity through the created order, Paul asserts that we are all without excuse when it comes to our responsibility to know and worship the Creator.

He wrote:

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. . . [Romans 1:20-22].

This remarkable passage has at its center an indictment of thanklessness. They did not honor Him as God or give thanks. Paul wants us to understand that the refusal to honor God and give thanks is a raw form of the primal sin. Theologians have long debated the foundational sin - and answers have ranged from lust to pride. Nevertheless, it would seem that being unthankful, refusing to recognize God as the source of all good things, is very close to the essence of the primal sin. What explains the rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden? A lack of proper thankfulness was at the core of their sin. God gave them unspeakable riches and abundance, but forbade them the fruit of one tree. A proper thankfulness would have led our first parents to avoid that fruit at all costs, and to obey the Lord’s command. Taken further, this first sin was also a lack of thankfulness in that the decision to eat the forbidden fruit indicated a lack of thankfulness that took the form of an assertion that we creatures - not the Creator - know what is best for us and intend the best for us.

They did not honor Him as God or give thanks. Clearly, honoring God as God leads us naturally into thankfulness. To honor Him as God is to honor His limitless love, His benevolence and care, His provision and uncountable gifts. To fail in thankfulness is to fail to honor God - and this is the biblical description of fallen and sinful humanity. We are a thankless lot.

Sinners saved by the grace and mercy of God know a thankfulness that exceeds any merely human thankfulness. How do we express thankfulness for the provision the Father has made for us in Christ, the riches that are made ours in Him, and the unspeakable gift of the surpassing grace of God? As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” [2 Corinthians 9:15].

So, observe a wonderful Thanksgiving - but realize that a proper Christian Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act that requires an active mind as well as a thankful heart. We need to think deeply, widely, carefully, and faithfully about the countless reasons for our thankfulness to God.

It is humbling to see that Paul so explicitly links a lack of thankfulness to sin, foolishness, and idolatry. A lack of proper thankfulness to God is a clear sign of a basic godlessness. Millions of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving with little consciousness of this truth. Their impulse to express gratitude is a sign of their spiritual need that can be met only in Christ.

So have a very Happy Thanksgiving - and remember that giving thanks is one of the most explicitly theological acts any human can contemplate.

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His loving kindness is everlasting. [1 Chronicles 16:34]

Give thanks.

Source: The Christian Post

Read more Thanksgiving devotionals, sermons, articles and recipes in Malankara World Thanksgiving Supplement:

Cafe - Recipe: Turkey casserole
Great for the Thanksgiving leftover Turkey


1 (6 ounce) package dry bread stuffing mix
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
2 (14.5 ounce) cans French-style green beans, drained
2 cups cooked, chopped turkey meat


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare stuffing according to package directions.

In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, cream of celery soup and dry onion soup mix.

Spread the green beans in a 9x13 inch dish. Top with a layer of turkey.

Pour the soup mixture over the turkey. Top with stuffing.

Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

More Thanksgiving Recipes can be seen in Malankara World Thanksgiving Supplement:

More Recipes/ Cooking Tips at Malankara World Cafe

Second Graders' Advice on How to cook a Turkey

Each year, the (Richmond) Register asks one class of students in Madison County how they would cook a turkey.

This year, Laura Martin’s second-graders at White Hall Elementary School were given the opportunity to respond.

Here are their responses:

Abigail: You should go in the woods and kill it, so it won’t go wild. Take the feathers off. Put the stuffing in it. Put it in the oven on 200 degrees and cook for 25 minutes.

Daniel: First, you have to have a turkey. Then, you clean the turkey. We put it in the oven. Finally, we eat it.

Mason: Cut the turkey parts off. Then, you cook and clean the turkey. Last, you salt and pepper it and eat it.

Izzy: First, buy or hunt a turkey. Put the turkey in the stove and set heat to 200 degrees or 250 degrees. Next, set timer for 30 minutes. Finally, cut and eat turkey.

Michael: Take the feathers off. Cook the meat. Then put butter on the turkey and gobble it up.

Ethan: I would put butter on the turkey all over. Take off all the skin, clean the turkey and put the turkey in the oven. We have to wait 30 minutes so we play games and eat food and watch TV while the turkey cooks. When it’s cooked, take it out and chop it up and eat it.

Ellie: First, you buy or hunt a turkey. Then, you pre-heat the oven to make it warm. Next, you put it in for a couple of minutes. Last, you cut a hole in it and put stuffing in the turkey. Finally, you get to eat it.

Avery: We hunt or buy a turkey. Next, we heat the oven or take the feathers off the turkey. Take the turkey out and cool it off. Turn off the oven. Finally, we carve the turkey and eat it.

Hayley: First, you kill it. Then, you take the giblets out. Yuck! Now, you cook it. Finally, you eat it. Yum!

Xavion: You buy a turkey from Wal-Mart. It should weigh 13 pounds. Wash it off and put it in a pan. Rub butter all over it. Put it in the oven on 200 degrees and cook it for five hours. Finally, you eat him.

Alex: Pre-heat the oven and take out all the giblets. Put the turkey in the pan, then put the stuffing in and cook it. Finally, you eat it.

Kaylin: First, you buy a big enough turkey. Take it home and put stuffing in it. Then, you pre-heat the oven to make it warm enough for the turkey. Next, you take the giblets and put it in a pan. Now, you cook the turkey for 30 minutes and take it out of the oven and cut it up and eat it with your family.

Gracie: Get the feathers off and clean the turkey. Season it and cook to 250 degrees. Before you put the turkey in the oven, put it in a pan and cook it for two hours. I make pumpkin pie in the time it takes to cook. We get the turkey out and freeze it and the next morning we get it out and cook it again and cut it up and eat it.

Mason: Cut the turkey parts off. Then, you cook and clean the turkey. Last, you salt and pepper it and eat it.

Cohen: I hunt it or buy it. Then I shoot it. Then clean it. Put it on the pan. Pre-heat the oven and put the turkey in at 250 degrees. Then you can put stuffing in the turkey. It should be 13 pounds. Cook it for an hour. Then you slice it and eat it.

Kasia: Clean the turkey and take the feathers off before you butter it. Put pepper and salt on it. Put it in the oven, but first you must cut it up. Put seasoning on it and put it back in the oven and wait five hours. While it cooks, I will start making dessert, but mom makes dessert, so I play games and talk to my friends. When the turkey is done cooking, mom gives me some and I eat it up.

Ella: We buy a turkey. We put it in the oven. We talk and hear some music. Sometimes, we make a cake. Get the turkey out of the oven and make the turkey cool off. Finally, we eat the turkey, The turkey is yummy.

Abby: I would go to the store and buy a turkey. You need to clean it off in the sink. If you want stuffing, you need to cut up vegetables and mash them up. Then, I would close up the turkey and set the oven to around 250 degrees. You need a pan and put it on the pan. Next, you need to let an adult put it in the open. Finally, let it cool and carve it and serve.

Sarah: You capture a turkey with a bow and arrow. Take it home. Get a pot of water. Cut the turkey’s head off. Put it in hot water. Set the timer usually for 45 minutes. Take the turkey out when the bell rings. Put little shoes on the turkey and put it on a plate. Put it on the table and have it for Thanksgiving. Say a prayer before you eat.

Cameron: I pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. I put butter on the turkey and put the turkey in the oven. Chop it up and put it on a plate and put other stuff on the plate, then you serve everyone.

Jacob: We hunt a turkey, then we shoot it and take the bullet out. We take the feathers off it and bake the turkey, then we cook it.

Nicole: Buy the turkey. Clean it. Stuff it with peas and get out the giblets. Eat it and slice it.

Henry: You can hunt or buy a turkey. If you hunt a turkey you have to take the feathers off. Then, you butter it. You can put stuff in it or add other stuff. Put it in the oven at about 129 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Elaina: Buy the turkey, then thaw the turkey and clean it. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Cook the turkey for 35 minutes. Take the turkey out, cut it up and eat it.

Camille: Buy a turkey. Clean the turkey and pull out the giblets. If you want the stuffing, put it in before you put it in the oven. Pre-heat the oven and while you’re waiting you can bake a cake that says ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ on it.

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