Thanksgiving: “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” (Genesis 8:20)
Noah built an altar. It was the first thing he did, after the Ark had come to rest on dry land. He gave thanks. What was unique about this altar? We find here, in Genesis 8:20 the first mention of an altar in all the Word. It was a pile of stones, with a fire built on top, where Noah offered up certain “birds and animals”in reverence, in thanks, and in worship to the Lord.” “The smoke went up” it says, and “the Lord smelled a pleasing aroma.”
What is the lesson here? The Lord comes down to us, bringing every good thing, our thanksgiving goes up, and it pleases the Lord. That’s a circle that must never be broken.
Abraham Lincoln’s “Proclamation Declaring a Day of Thanksgiving” (October 3, 1863) is attached. Imagine a prominent politician, much less a U. S. President, making such a public proclamation today. The woke media would tear them to pieces.
We have come a long way since 1863. And yet Lincoln’s proclamation is as true today as it was then… maybe more true, when you think about it.
What are we to do? Confucius (551-479 B.C.), of all people, had the right idea. The solution, he understood, is in your hands.
If there be righteousness
In the heart
There will be beauty
In the character.
If there be beauty
In the character
There will be harmony
In the home.
If there be harmony
In the home
There will be order
In the nation.
If there be order
In the nation
There will be peace
In the world.
Heart, to home, to nation, to world. It starts with you, and it has everything to do with that circle. Bringing all good things, the Lord comes down, and we respond with worship. And the highest form of worship is when, in our daily lives, we return the Lord’s love in the uses – the good deeds and useful service – we perform for our neighbors. This closes that circle.
Once that is done, and others do the same, a fire will spread, bringing “order in the nation.” And finally “there will be peace in the world.”
Pie in the sky? No. It’s all right there, in Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22. It’s the New Jerusalem coming down to earth, right now.
But only if we remember to give thanks.
This is the focus of today’s talk. I hope to see you there.
Pastor Reuben Bell
Bath Church of the New Jerusalem