“Two Kinds of Food for Two Kinds of Hunger”
Thanksgiving Sermon based on Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Rev. Paul E. Capetz
Christ Church by the Sea (United Methodist),
Newport Beach November 24, 2018
On this Sunday before the Thanksgiving holiday, it is fitting for us to reflect upon the importance of gratitude. After all, that’s what “Thanksgiving” means: to give thanks or to be grateful. At the center of this holiday there is food coupled with a memory. We all look forward to eating a delicious meal. And we remember the Pilgrims who braved the treacherous ocean as they sailed to Massachusetts in pursuit of religious freedom and, after having survived a first horrendous winter, celebrated a meal with the native inhabitants of the land in gratitude for their good fortune. Unlike Christmas and Easter, Thanksgiving is not a specifically Christian holiday. It is a national holiday that, like the Fourth of July, commemorates a founding event in the history of our American nation. For this reason, we turn to the Old Testament instead of to the New Testament for our scripture lesson this morning, since the Old Testament tells the story of the founding of a particular nation, Israel, and its subsequent history, whereas the New Testament tells the story of the founding of the church, a particular religious community within Israel. Since Thanksgiving is a national holiday, even we who are Christians celebrate it as Americans along with all of our fellow American citizens, whether they be Christians or not.