First English Lutheran Church of Dorset, Minnesota
THE NEW HOME OF THE DORSET CHURCH
Join us Sundays:
9:00 a.m. Worship
10:00 a.m. Fellowship
10:20 a.m. Bible Study
Holy Communion is served on 2nd and last Sunday of each month.
"Now Thank We All Our God"
What are you thankful for? My prayer for all of you, as we enter this holiday season, is that you have too many blessings to count. You see, that is to be the case with all Christians. No, I'm not talking about everything going the way you want it to, I'm talking about the multitude of blessings we receive each and every day "in Christ."
Holy Scripture tells us that, as Christians, we are to "[give] thanks always for all things to God our Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20). We are also told, "...in everything give thanks; for his is the will of God in Chirst Jesus for you" ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18). This means that as those who have been given the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, we are to see blessings from God everywhere in our lives. Although it sometimes seems nearly impossible to be thankful for what is going on in our lives, "in Christ" we really do have every good thing.
In the early part of the 17th Century, Germany was ravaged by the Thirty Years War. Living conditions for most people were unthinkable during this time. The army of the Roman Empire was allowed to pillage the area, and food for those still alive was almost non-existent. It was so bad that, in addition to eating rats and mice, people were eating each other. "On November 24, , a soldier under arrest in the prison deid, and before the warden in charge could order his burial the other prisoners had cut up the body and eaten it. " 1 In the same account, it is told how children were not safe on the streets. On one occasion, " ...soldiers promised a pastry-cook's boy a piece of bread if he followed them into their camp. But when he got there, they butchered him up and ate him. " 2 Yet in the midst of all this, people were still thankful to God for what He had given them. Hans Heberle, a Lutheran cobbler from a village near Ulm witnessed these events and wrote about them in his diary. Yet in the midst of this horror, Mr. Heberle wrote, " is this not a great calamity above all calamities that one should go through this and partly watch similar happenings every year, month, week, day, and hour. ... Yet God shall never forseake me. ...I thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, you are always my helper, who has saved me from many perils, and helped me through hard times... I say 'amen' with all my heart. Now God give me my eternal reward... " 3
God willing, none of us will ever have to go through - or see - what Hans Heberle did. Yet in the midst of all that, he still turned to God and gave thanks to Christ Jesus for everything. As Thanksgiving approaches we should count our blessings - realizing they all come from Christ - and be thankful for what we have as Christians. No matter what is going on in our lives - no matter how terrifically good or horribly bad - we are baptized children of God! We belong to Christ, and that means we can - with peace and gratitude - join together in singing, "Now thank we all our God With heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things hath done, In whom His world rejoices; Who from our mother's arms Hath blessed us on our way With Countless gifts of love And still is our today" (TLH # 36)
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!
1 - Eric Lund, Ed., Documents from the History of Lutheranism: 1517-1750, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2220), 176.
2 - Ibid.
3 - Ibid.