Many of us will enjoy this Thanksgiving with family around a table full of food … likely more food than we’ll know what to do with! I suppose this tradition is to celebrate the blessing of the harvest and acknowledge the abundant blessings that God has bestowed on us. And while we certainly must be mindful of the multitude of people who will remain homeless, hopeless, and hungry this Thanksgiving it’s not inappropriate for us to enjoy a scrumptious feast together and give thanks to our Father for His lavish grace. This is one reason we have a church-wide Thanksgiving Feast each year. This year’s supper was incredible … one of the larger crowds we’ve ever had and the array of food was spectacular!
Let me explain to you one of the things I love about Community and which makes us unique and distinct from some other churches. At the Session meeting just prior to the Thanksgiving Feast I asked the elders if they wanted some sort of program - music, testimony, message, etc. - right before or during the meal. One elder said, “I’m not opposed to doing something.” Another elder said, “I’m not opposed to not doing something.” The elders then looked at one another, sort of nodded in agreement, and in unanimity essentially said, “let’s just eat together.” Why do I love that so much? Because I think our elders understand that we don’t need to artificially tack on something “spiritual” in order to make the Thanksgiving Feast a spiritual event. The event of God’s people gathering together around the table, engaging in conversation, sharing their lives, laughing, hurting, listening, and simply being physically present with one another is itself a very spiritual thing. As a pastor I enjoyed observing young and old interact with each other, new families being welcomed by long-time members, and unmarried singles interacting with married couples. And though no ecstatic spiritual gifts were displayed and no gold dust fell from the ceiling, I genuinely sensed the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in and among our congregation this past Sunday evening.
I guess the point is that certain things are just spiritual … doesn’t matter whether or not we put our packaging on them. Corporate worship is spiritual whether or not we “feel moved” during the service. Reading God’s Word is spiritual whether or not we “get something” from it (God’s Word never returns to Him without accomplishing its purpose). Prayer is spiritual whether or not we feel our prayers don’t get higher than the ceiling (God is present on this side of the ceiling, too!). Sharing the Gospel with unbelievers is spiritual whether or not we see fruit. Fellowship with believers is spiritual whether or not we tack on something to it trying to make it spiritual. And so on, etc.
There’s a lot at CPC we get wrong, no denying that. But I’m thankful this Thanksgiving for a church that is a spiritual family, who doesn’t so much try to be a spiritual family, but rather operates in the knowledge that we are a family because of the redeeming work of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.