Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Sermon -- Thanksgiving Eve (November 27, 2019)

PSALM 145:15-21


In the name + of Jesus.

     O Lord, you satisfy our desires.  You have created us and given us life.  You made us to be creatures of emotion and reason.  You enable us to think and to desire, to be happy and to laugh, to have sympathy and compassion.  You have given us eyes to enjoy the beauty of the world you have put us in—to see the colors of sunsets, the grandeur of mountains and valleys, the cinematography of movies, and the smiles of loved ones.  You have given us ears to enjoy the skill of composers and musicians, to be encouraged by conversations with friends, and to be soothed by lullabies.  You have given us hands to reach out and help others, legs to run and to kick and to dance, and abilities that fill our lives with purpose and interest.
     O Lord, you satisfy our desires.  You not only have given us life, but you continue to sustain us day after day, year after year.  We have never known famine.  Our grocery stores do not even know seasons.  Even in the dead of winter, we enjoy all sorts of fruits and vegetables.  “You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16)  You have blessed us with variety and abundance, with pantries, refrigerators, and freezers that enable us to stockpile food for daily bread and for weekly planning.
     O Lord, you satisfy our desires, and it is not even limited to mankind.  “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.” (Psalm 145:15)  The birds and fish, the wild animals and house pets do not plan menus or say meal prayers, yet they know that you will care for them.  You do not play favorites among mankind either.  Our Lord Jesus Christ affirmed it: “Your Father who is in heaven...makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45)  Whether a man acknowledges you as the true God or perverts his worship by serving a man-made god or refuses to acknowledge any god at all, you do not refrain from giving what we need to live.  “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” (Psalm 145:17)  Your goodness does not depend on our goodness.  Your faithfulness is not determined by our obedience.  “You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16)  Your kindness and faithfulness are shown to every living thing every year.  Your faithfulness is so consistent that we do not even think about our next meal or next year's crop.  And sadly, even we who confess your name do not thank you as we ought.
     O Lord, you satisfy our desires.  Our taste buds enjoy your delicacies and our bellies are well nourished, but our spirits are not at rest.  We all have fears that haunt us—fear that people will learn our inner thoughts, fear that they will recognize that we are as nice as we show them, fear that we have to answer to you, O Lord, for deeds that we regret and want buried forever, fear of knowing that death can come to us or our loved ones without warning and without apology.  And so, our spirits are not at rest.  We desire comfort and peace.  We crave the assurance that all is well and will be well.  We desire to have our guilt removed from our record and our memory.  We desire to have death done away with so that the grave cannot threaten us any longer.  We desire to know that you, O Lord, are not angry with us, and that your interest in us is not because you are spying on us to catch us in a bad moment, but rather that your interest in us is for our good and that your intentions for us are motivated by mercy.
     O Lord, you satisfy our desires.  “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)  And so, Lord, we come before you in humble honesty.  We acknowledge that we have been greedy for blessings, selfish with our goods, and ungrateful for your faithful kindness.  We admit that we are turned in on ourselves.  We are more concerned about what our friends think of us than what you think of us.  And while we can often hide our sin from our friends, our hearts are completely exposed before you.  We have no excuse.  We can only plead for your mercy.
     And Lord, you satisfy our desires.  King David reminds us, “He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalm 145:19)  O Lord, you have heard our cry for mercy, and you have revealed your mercy to us in your Son, Jesus.  It is he who satisfies all our desires.  For we desire that our sins be put away from our record.  And you have assured us, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)  Jesus has removed every charge from our record.  His his holy, innocent blood was shed for us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  We desire that death and the grave no longer threaten us.  Lord, you have sanctified the grave by the burial of your Son Jesus, and you have rendered it powerless by his resurrection.  As surely as you did not abandon Jesus to the grave, neither will you abandon us.  For a while, our bodies will lie at rest.  Then we will be raised up to live forevermore.
     O Lord, you satisfy our desires.  And we desire to know that you, O Lord, are not angry with us or hoping to get even with us.  We long to know that you do not regret suffering for our sins or dying the death that deserve.  We may know your word that we are forgiven, but neither the devil nor our conscience lets us forget our past.  Therefore, when we suffer evil, we feel that you are trying to settle some score.  When we face hardships, we wonder why you are withholding your love from us.
     O Lord, you satisfy our desires.  For, you reveal that your love is not measured by our feelings or by our funds or even by what our friends tell us.  You have given us promises that do not change.  The seasons change, and our circumstances go back and forth between good and bad.  But you are faithful.  Your word stands.  Therefore, King David declares this word: “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.  The LORD preserves all who love him...” (Psalm 145:18-20)  
     O Lord, you satisfy our desires; for, you declare that your mercy endures forever and that you are faithful to your promises.  Your love does not grow cold, and you do not grow bored or frustrated with us.  Rather, you preserve us in your kingdom with words of forgiveness, with the loving discipline of a father, and with sacred nourishment that consoles fearful hearts and strengthens weak faith.
     O Lord, you satisfy our desires.  While it is true that you will destroy the wicked, it is also true that you have taken away our wickedness.  Even as you cleanse our record of every sin, you will also cleanse our memory of every regret and all shame when we enter your heavenly glory.  Until then, you will remain faithful to us all our days.  You will sustain us for all that we need for body and life, and you will also sustain us for all that we need for faith and salvation.  Our desire is to dwell in peace and joy and comfort, and you open your hand and satisfy our desires with every good thing.  Therefore, we join with King David in praise: “My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.” (Psalm 145:21)

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

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