The Great Thanksgiving

Summary of the Sermon - July 29, 2012

Text: Psalm 136

In our examination of worship over the last several weeks, we have looked at what it means to give glory to God and what it means to call on the name of the Lord. Last week we fleshed out the importance our relationships with each other in our worship. We have discovered that the unifying concept behind those ideas is our response to what the Lord has already done or promised to do.

This week we are going to examine an Old Testament liturgical response of the congregation of Israel in its corporate worship of the Lord. Psalm 136 is in the form of a litany, which is a call by a worship leader and the congregation.

Leader: Oh, give thanks to the Lord for he is good

People: For his mercy endures forever.

In this psalm the congregation is remembering the mighty acts of God that brought them out of Egypt, the land of slavery, and into Israel, the land of promise.

The people in our congregations are desperate for a real worship experience at a Sunday service. Many leave feeling disappointed and empty. We desire the spine tingling god-experience and attempt to get it many ways. We do this sometimes through symbols of real worship, incense to represent our prayer, or beautiful stain-glass windows, or vaulted ceilings to remind us heaven. However, these will fail to substitute for a true experience of the Lord's grace and mercy.

Johnson Oatman, Jr. Got it right with his hymn, "Count Your Blessings."

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your blessings, see what God hath done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

In the days ahead look backward over the course of your life for the mighty acts of God and bring those blessings with you to both your private worship experience and your public worship on Sunday.