Friday, November 27, 2015

sermon, "To Whom Are We Thankful", by Raymond A. Foss, Mountain Heights Healthcare, November 27, 2015

To Whom Are We Thankful
Mt. Heights Healthcare
Raymond A. Foss
November 27, 2015
Thanksgiving and Advent
Happy Thanksgiving! Can you believe it is Thanksgiving already. Is it just me or has this year just flown by? It sure seems that way. They call today Black Friday. And the season of Advent starts this Sunday. Wow.

Let us start with a moment of prayer. Let us be in the spirit of prayer.

Almighty God, giver of all good things, we come together in this time of thanksgiving to give thanks to you, to sing your praises together, to worship you, and to thank you for all the ways you bless us.

May this time of coming together be pleasing in your sight. May these words be your words. Come, Holy Spirit fall down upon all of us. Be with us now. And we say and pray all these things in the name of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

To Whom Are We Thankful

So what are you thankful for, in this time of Thanksgiving? Anyone willing to share? We can go around the room a little. (time of sharing)

I know I am thankful for my family, for creation, for Mount Katahdin, for our country, for my life, for this beautiful place God has called our family to.

I am thankful for all God has given me. I am thankful for the Pilgrims, who celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621. My 9 greats grandparents, Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins, were on the Mayflower. And my other 9 greats grandfather, William Ring, was one of the religious leaders of the other ship, the Speedwell. Are any of you related to the Pilgrims or other early settlers? (time of sharing)

What about “To Whom Are You Thankful?” (time of sharing)

I think that question, “To whom are you thankful?”, is a more important question, in a way, because we seem to think of ourselves in the United States as self-made people.

We don’t even pray anymore like we used to. And we sure aren’t sharing about God in our schools, in our common conversations, except maybe in places like northern Maine and down south in the Bible Belt.

The other day we took our Youth Group from the Methodist Church to see the musical “Godspell” at Houlton High School. It was amazing to hear children reciting and living out the parables of Jesus in a school building…

I am calling this message, “To Whom Are You Thankful?” in part because of a prayer President Obama offered for Thanksgiving 2009.

He spoke of what he was thankful for on behalf of our nation, including our military serving around the world.

There was nothing about “To Whom” we are thankful, as if all of our blessings just sort of appear out of thin air, from hard work alone, or from a government program, or even from sharing with our neighbors.  What he didn’t include was a reference to God.

Unfortunately, he has continued that in each of his annual messages about Thanksgiving, including the one two days ago.

We, as people of faith, must speak out loud not just “what we are thankful for” but “to whom we are thankful”. Let us continue with these words…


As we read in Psalm 100:4,

We are to, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”

We are called to remember God, to enter into worship, to praise God.

We are thankful to God for creation, for life, for life eternal for we would have nothing, we wouldn’t exist, we wouldn’t have the promise of heaven if it were not for the grace, the love, the mercy of God.

We are thankful to God for His covenants with humanity going back to Noah, with Abraham, with Isaac and Israel, with David, with Moses and the prophets. We are thankful to God for His steadfast love no matter how far we stray, how far we have strayed from Him.


We are thankful to Christ, to our brother, to our Savior, because He chose to descend from heaven to come to earth as a mortal, being emptied of His glory in heaven. (Philippians 2:6-8) Christ chose to come here to show us who God is and what love is, because God is love.

We are thankful to Christ, for He chose, at God’s appointed time, to sacrifice himself for all of us (Matthew 26:42), even as we were and are yet sinners. (Romans 5:8) He died and rose from the dead and ascended back to heaven, to His royal throne.

We are thankful to Christ for His promise to come again in glory, in victory, to gather His children home. (John 14:3)


We are thankful to the Spirit, to the living presence of God which came down from heaven on Pentecost and which fills each of us with the spark, the kernel of heaven, the piece of God that lives and dwells within each of us. (Acts 2:1-4)

We are thankful to the Spirit which guides are steps, in the way the Spirit leads us through the shadows, through the dark times in our lives, how God walks with us.

We are thankful to the Spirit for how the Spirit prays for us even when we have no words to lift up, when words cannot come. (Romans 8:26-27)


We are thankful for the Saints and Strangers, for the Pilgrims and all the other people who came to this country from across the seas, seeking religious liberty, the freedom to worship. (see  


We are thankful for our forbearers, for Amos Patten, for Ira Fish, for Eli Kellogg, and the others who came to this place and who loved this land as we do. We are thankful to all of them for creating this town and for making a way for all of us to live in freedom and to share the blessings of this slice of God’s kingdom. Next year we will celebrate Patten’s 175th birthday as a town. (see,_Maine)


We are thankful to our parents and our ancestors for their faith, for their love. We are thankful for them and for all our loved ones both near and far.


Lastly, we are thankful for community, for this place, this special place we call home.

We stop at Thanksgiving to be thankful for all the blessings we have. But we also stop to thank God for all the blessings we have.

We must remember to sing our praises to God, because God is the source of the bounty, of the harvest, of our life, and of our life everlasting through the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is sort of fitting that we go from Thanksgiving yesterday into the Season of Advent this Sunday. We begin the waiting for the coming of the Christ child, and for Christ’s return in victory.

We are thankful to God for His great mercy and for His blessings. May we count our blessings but may we remember, may we never forget, from whom all our blessings flow.


November 27, 2015
Thanksgiving 2015
Psalm 100:4
Philippians 2:6-8
Matthew 26:4
John 14:3
Acts 2:1-4
Romans 8:26-27
sermon, “To Whom Are We Thankful?”
worship led by Raymond A. Foss
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
Fourth Friday of the month service at Mt. Heights Health Care Facility
November 27, 2015
edited November 26, 2015
Saints and Strangers – v2
Thanksgiving Day
July 24, 2006 22:52
Saints and Strangers
November 26, 2015
I am thankful to God - 2
Thanksgiving Day
November 26, 2015
with joyful hearts – 2
Thanksgiving Day
November 26, 2015
To God we are Thankful
Thanksgiving Day
November 26, 2015
Thankful for Your blessings
Thanksgiving Day
edited November 26, 2015
In Thanksgiving – v5
(editing version 4)         
Thanksgiving Day
edited June 2, 2015
In Thanksgiving – v4
(editing original)
edited November 27, 2014
In Thanksgiving – v3
(editing original again)
Thanksgiving Day
edited June 28, 2014
In Thanksgiving – v2
November 27, 2008
In Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day
edited August 22, 2014
I am thankful to God – v2
November 28, 2013
I am thankful to God
(Thanksgiving Day)
Christ the King Sunday
6th and final service of Fall Sermon Series:
 “Shepherd Us O God”
Psalm 23:6 King James Version
Jeremiah 29:11 Common English Bible
2 Timothy 4:7-8 Common English Bible
John 14:1-3 Common English Bible
“Shepherd Me O God” by Marty Haugen
Psalm 23
Prayer of Thanksgiving
“For this prayer”
by Raymond Foss
children’s sermon
“we get to live with God for eternity”
by Pastor Ruth Foss
and sermon “From Here To Eternity
by Pastor Ruth Foss
sermon blog
meditation blog
“God’s Whisper” blog
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
Patten, ME
November 24, 2013
November 23, 2013
Sermon 5 of Fall Series
“Shepherd Us O God”
Psalm 23:5 King James Version
Psalm 144:15 The Message Bible
Psalm 68:3-4 The Message Bible
1 Chronicles 16:30-33 The Message Bible
“Shepherd Me O God” by Marty Haugen
5th service of Fall Sermon Series:
Psalm 23
Prayer of Thanksgiving
“We come to worship You”
by Raymond Foss
children’s sermon
by Pastor Ruth Foss
and sermon “Oh Happy Day
by Pastor Ruth Foss
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
Patten, ME
November 17, 2013

All of my poems and photographs are copyrighted by Raymond A. Foss, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. All rights reserved. Contact me at Ray Foss ( for usage. See all 40,220+ of my poems at Poetry Where You Live.

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