SERMON TITLE: “Let’s Give Thanks for Sustenance”
SERMON TEXT: Psalm 107:1-9, 35-38
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: November 22, 2020, at First UMC
I’ve been doing some reading about the original Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. Historians tell us that a lot of what we have been taught about that event is actually a myth. The Wampanoag Indians didn’t arrive to the feast in feathery headdresses, and the Pilgrims’ hats didn’t have buckles. While the Pilgrims had successfully hunted some fowl, turkey was not the centerpiece of the meal. Instead, the feast featured five deer brought by the Wampanoag, who outnumbered the Pilgrims two-to-one. Unlike our traditional Thanksgiving menu, those original celebrants didn’t eat mashed potatoes, because in 1621, potatoes hadn’t yet been brought from South America. They didn’t eat sweet potatoes or yams, because those hadn’t yet been brought from Africa. And they didn’t have any wheat flour or ovens to bake pies. What is true about that “first Thanksgiving” is that—after a very grim winter in which half of the Pilgrims died from starvation and sickness—they had a successful vegetable crop, they and the Wampanoag had a harvest feast party that lasted three days, and they gratefully celebrated the sustenance which God had provided for them.
In this month of November, we’ve been talking about gratitude from some different angles. We began with gratitude as a necessary part of our covenant relationship with God. Then we talked about the importance of having gratitude in our hearts. And, last Sunday, we discussed gratitude as a balance of grit and grace. Today, I invite you to consider the value of gratitude for God’s provision of our material and physical needs. Using Psalm 107 as our guide, let’s consider why we should give thanks for sustenance.