We Praise God for Sustaining Life in and through His Word
The nation resounds with thanksgiving for the earth’s bountiful harvest, crops of wheat and grains, all beneath the canopy of God’s almighty care. But “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:1–10).
The Church is the vessel through which the Word of God penetrates the world with its Law and Gospel. It is this divine Word that proclaims Jesus as the sole source of life, health and wholeness. It is Jesus who heals lepers with His Word: “Go and show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:11–19). Of the 10 cleansed, only one expresses thanksgiving back to Jesus. But true gratitude proceeds from a heart sustained by faith. Jesus bids this one Samaritan to “rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
So also, we are sent from the Divine Service, bolstered in our faith by baptismal and Eucharist blessings to be thankful in our circumstances of plenty and hunger, abundance and need (Phil. 4:6–20).
In Repentance We Are Alert to the Coming of Christ
The signs of the end are all around us, constant reminders that “heaven and earth will pass away.” But all of these signs are centered in the cross of Christ, whereby He has conquered sin and death, that we might be raised with Him in righteousness through His Word of the Gospel, which “will not pass away” (Mark 13:31).
He is “the firstborn of the dead,” who in His great love “has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev. 1:5). His salvation is certain because “his dominion is an everlasting dominion” and His Kingdom “shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:14).
For this purpose He came into the world, to reign in love through His voice of the Gospel, which is the truth (John 18:37). So is the righteousness of Christ “a light to the peoples,” which “will never be dismayed” because it is the justice of His cross and resurrection (Is. 51:4–6).
As He “is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory,” so wait upon “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 20–24).