Worship as Giving Thanks

How is the place where you live promised land? While the Promised Land refers to a particular place, God’s promise of a land to live in also applies to the place where you live.

Ancient Israel had wandered in the dessert for nearly 40 years after leaving Egypt where they had been harshly treated. As they stand on the edge of the River Jordan, about to cross into the Promised Land, Moses gives a final speech. He began the 26th chapter of Deuteronomy telling them: “When you have come into the land that the LORD your God is giving to you …”

The people with in the United States of America have for the most part come here because of harsh treatment or conditions elsewhere. While some Native American religious stories tell of creation from within the earth or from plants, archeologists tell of people who traveled over a bridge from Asia across frozen tundra in search of better lands. Early European settlers came to this continent in search of religious freedom or an opportunity to succeed. More recent immigrants have come seeking political sanctuary. Others tell of harsh treatment that captured and forcibly kept their ancestors here against their will separating them from their ancestor’s culture and language. For them, this land is transforming from a place of hostility to place of opportunity.

Bridge partially constructed

I am convinced that the arc of history does bend towards justice. Although it bends excruciatingly slowly and hideously unevenly, favoring some people more than others. Yet even in my short life I have seen changes towards justice for all people. So that the land of opportunity that God has promised both lays under our feet and across an partially bridged chasm for some future generation to walk upon.

This Sunday’s passage encourages us to celebrate that the LORD has, is, and will place under our feet a land flowing with milk and honey. How has God given you reason to celebrate where you stand?

I will have more to say about Deuteronomy 26:1-11 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church at 8:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 26th.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

A Tip for Parents

child flying

Many people and groups beg for our undivided allegiance.

Our first Scripture lesson, for the first Sunday in Lent, tells of Jesus being tempted by the Deceiver (aka Satan or the Devil) to bow down and worship him. These temptations might be explained as making your child their school principal so he/she could have only their favorite classes or only recess; getting what they wanted to eat all the time; or being able to fly from the highest tree.

Instead God calls us to worship Him alone obeying him.