November 17th Weekly Meditation
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being...That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks...
Those words above are from President George Washington's "Thanksgiving Proclamation" which called for a national day of thanksgiving, issued on October 3, 1789.
Washington called on the people of the newly formed United States to give thanks for the end of the war, the newly formed government, and all the blessings the people enjoyed. It was a reminder that in spite of the troubles that came with creating a new nation and carving out settlements in this "new world," the people still had much to be thankful for.
As I read through Washington's Proclamation something caught my eye that had not really struck me before. In the last paragraph of the document Washington also calls on the people to offer prayers of confession. He writes,
"and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions."
That was interesting to me. The act of confession is an act of humility - Washington even calls for "humbly offering our prayers and supplications..." To confess transgressions is to admit to falling short; to admit that we are not perfect. And to confess these imperfections to God is to own the fact that there is a higher power in this world than "me."
Here this new nation that had recently defeated the most powerful army in the world and against all odds at the time created a (somewhat) democratic government and looked out over vast reserves of untapped natural resources was being reminded to remain humble. Certainly this national day of thanksgiving could have been a day of pride, a day to crow over all that had been accomplished and all that was at hand. But instead, Washington was reminding the people that what they had they owed to God and their thanksgiving itself ought to an act of humility.
On Thursday the 26th day of November next, I encourage you to give thanks, but humbly. To give thanks to God is in itself a confession that what we have is gifted to us, not earned on our own. Let our thanksgiving also be a reminder that we too sometimes fall short; that we are not perfect; that we owe much to our God who has blessed us with abundance. I dare say a national day of humbleness might well do us good.
O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. (Ps. 107:1)
*There will be no Weekly Meditation next week as I will be enjoying some time off.
Worship This Week
Thursday, November 19, 6:30pm, North Room
Sunday, November 22, 10am, ONLINE ONLY
(In-person worship, inside. Masks required and please act responsibly)
This Week: Heartland Conference Transitional Interim Minister Rev. David Long-Higgins will be our worship leader
Keep In Prayer:
Ellie Justice, Don Long, Alvin Shelley, Dee Kuhlman
Our shut-ins: Kate Shelley, Dot Ann Smith, Nora Smith, Helen Payne