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What Luther Says

When We Sit Down At The Thanksgiving Table Today, Let Us Give Thanks For Our First Table And Second Table Gifts From Our Gracious God (Psalm 122)

Today, millions of Americans will be hitting the road to travel to the home of a loved one to enjoy the company of family and friends while eating a feast that's fit for a king.

While there is much for us to be thankful for, a day like today reminds me of Psalm 122...

Psalm 122:1-9 (ESV) I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed fora Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! "May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!" For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, "Peace be within you!" For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.

Like David, we are welcomed to the Lord's house and can rejoice at the invitation.

We are drawn to a heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22). At the throne of Christ, the eternal Son of David, we find a place of peace (Romans 5:1; Romans 8:1). May God give us a place among all his people who walk by faith in Christ (Galatians 6:16).

In the introductory remarks to his explanation of Psalm 122, Martin Luther tells us whence thankfulness should come...

4354 The Roots Of Gratitude 
To begin with, we must rejoice at the less important good things (exiguis bonis) which we enjoy according to the Second Table of the Law in that our bodies and possessions are protected. For these gifts are of minor importance when compared with those which we enjoy according to the First Table: that God has revealed Himself, has made known what He intends to do with us, gives His Word, grants faith and the Holy Spirit, hears prayers, daily increases His church, etc. These things are so great that no tongue is able to amplify and praise them as they deserve. ... To this David turns his eyes; on this he meditates, and so he is moved to gratitude. ... For only those who are truly thankful who receive the gifts of God joyfully and rejoice in the Giver. 
-- (W 40 III, 80 f -- E op ex 19, 225 -- SL 4, 1810)

This is most certainly true.

Gratefully doing so is worship at its best.

In Reading The Psalms With Luther, we also find the following words on Psalm 122 written by Luther...

The 122nd psalm is a psalm that gives thanks with joy for the Word of God, which in a specific city, namely Jerusalem, was given through a specific people, namely the Levites and kings, and received by specific hearers, namely the tribe of Israel. How much is it to be lamented that, seeking everywhere for God's Word and being nowhere able to find it, the children of Israel wound there way to idols? And we Christians did the same with our running to pilgrimages and winding our way to the cloister. But the Holy Church is our Jerusalem, and Christ is our temple, city, altar, and mercy seat, to which, from which, and with which we seek and hear His Word. 
Our hearts are glad and our souls rejoice before You, Lord, our God, because by Your Word of truth You have made us members of Your Holy Church, in which You daily and richly forgive the sins of all those who build their trust on Jesus Christ. Grant us grace to abide in the love of Your Word, in purity of faith and in piety of life, even to our end. Amen.

May we never forget that the Lord is the provider and source of all our blessings in this life.

We are reminded of this whenever we pray the words "give us this day our daily bread" too, and yet, we are so often tempted to forget Him and honor ourselves or others instead.

Speaking of God being our provider in this life, here's something else I found...

God Is Our Provider 
The Scriptures teach that God is not only our creator, He is also our provider. The catechism teaches that "He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life." But why do we give God credit when, in fact, we purchase the things we need from grocers, builders, clothiers, and so on? 
The answer is in the doctrine of vocation. The Christian doctrine of vocation teaches that God works through means, that is, He provides for us physically just as He does spiritually, through specific channels or means. Spiritually, He provides for us through His Word preached and His Sacraments properly administered. Physically, He provides through bakers, butchers, and builders. In other words, it is God who is at work behind the people we go to in order to meet our needs. 
This is why we celebrate Thanksgiving, to thank God for His providence. He gives gifts (talents) to people that they might use them to serve others as good stewards of God's varied grace (1 Peter 4:11). This is also why we pray, "Grant, O Lord, that children may develop their talents not for their own sakes but to Your glory and the welfare of their neighbor." 
So, give thanks to God for all His many blessings this Thanksgiving Day. 
-- Rev. William Heine / Headmaster - Memorial Lutheran School


In a Lutheran layman's terms, when we sit down at the Thanksgiving table today, let us give thanks for our First Table and Second Table gifts from our gracious God.

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Executive Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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