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Friday, November 5, 2021

The Marks of Thanksgiving

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus feet, giving him thanks” Luke 17:15-16

The ten lepers is a story of true thanksgiving. Mired in the horrifying reality of leprosy, their lives were defined by this debilitating disease. Yet one day as they saw Jesus from a distance, they lifted their voices saying “Jesus have mercy upon us”. The Lord directed them to the priests and on the way they were cleansed. Imagine the great reversal that took place that day! How lives were changed as they were no longer defined by the words “unclean! unclean!” but through His grace, they were restored in Christ. As one leper returned, he praised the Lord and Jesus said to him, Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well” [Lk17:19]. Indeed, this is the mark of true thanksgiving!

And so it is for us. As we were born into the leprous state of sin and death, we cannot rescue ourselves from the consequence of the fall. Thus, we too proclaim the words, “Lord have mercy upon us” [Kyrie]. For it is only by God’s mercy that He would send His Son to die for sinners.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” Ephesians 2:8-9.

The great reversal is credited to Christ who shapes and defines you by His grace. As an undeserved gift, Christ by His merits worked salvation upon the Cross for you. You are saved by the one who stood in your place, dying the big death so that by the shedding of His blood you are forgiven and declared righteous in front of God. Indeed, this is the mark of true thanksgiving.

Or as it reads in the explanation of the 3rd article of the Creed:

“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.”

As the 3rd article indicates, we are thankful for the faith that He has been given to us through the Word and the Sacraments. For as it reads in Romans 10:17, “so faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”. Indeed, by His Word we are illumined and enlightened by the very gift of the Gospel. Through His gifts, namely the Sacraments, we have been given the robe of righteousness as we have put on Christ in Holy Baptism [Gal3:27]. Sunday after Sunday we feed upon Christ as He serves us His own true body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins. Indeed, these are the marks of true thanksgiving. And these marks are yours all by the grace of God!

Have blessed November,

✝️ Pastor Jeong

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