Some people remarked “What is such a big deal over Thanksgiving Sunday?” I hope this is not a rejection or denial of our thanks to Almighty God. We can actually give thanks to God anytime and anywhere we like and wish. In order to give thanks to God collectively as a church and as a gathered people of God is something special and necessary. In fact every Sunday is a thanksgiving and celebrative worship service. It is important for us not to reduce the Sunday thanksgiving and celebrative worship service only into a preaching session or a singspirational session or a fellowshipping session. The 5 dimensional worship appraisal must be fully celebrated and participated, namely, the Ministry of Praise (through songs, music and psalms); the Ministry of the Word (through reading and preaching of the Word); the Ministry of Prayers (through intercession, confession and absolution); the Ministry of Eucharist (through the consecration of the sacrament of Holy Communion and the offering of gifts); the Ministry of Blessings (the blessing of one another through the sharing of peace and the blessing from God).
A Thanksgiving Sunday is purposely designed to magnify the gratitude of hearts and the collective offerings of gifts and expressions to God Almighty. It must be done seriously, celebratively, joyously, willingly, wholeheartedly, reflectively and after close examination of oneself before God. It is at this Annual Thanksgiving Sunday that one normally gives his very best to Almighty God with special efforts. It should be more than the normal Sunday thanksgiving and celebrative service. It is the climax of the usual thanksgiving.
How should we use the Thanksgiving Sunday? I have suggested a few probable actions here.
1. Like in the OT, we can give an annual tithe to God for the priests and Levites as an expression for God’s spiritual coverage. (Deut 14:22)
2. Like in the OT, we can give an annual tithe to God for the celebration of God’s people as a redeemed people of God. (Deut 14:24-27) This is over and above the normal tithe.
3. Like in the OT, we can give a tithe once in three years to be distributed to the poor and less fortunate one, thanking God as the Master Designer and Creator of all people and this world. (Deut 14:28-30; 26:12) This is done once in three years which is over and above (1) and (2).
4. To forgive any and everyone who has hurt or caused you trouble, as the Lord has forgiven us.
5. To pray and bless all those who bless us and also all those who didn’t bless us, even those who curse us.
6. To take to heart the Word and teachings of God and do them wholeheartedly.
7. To invite God back into our lives, families, careers, social and physical lives and be Lord.
Let God be God and Lord of our lives again by adhering to His commands and precepts.
To God be the Glory! Amen!
Bishop Moon Hing 6 October 2012