Psalms 136:4-9 “to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;” (ESV)
Our Thanksgiving Psalm today starts in verses 1-3 by thanking God for who he is—that he is good and that he is powerful. Then in the verses I just read, verses 4-9, the Psalmist gives thanks to the Lord for creating the world, including the heavens and the earth and stars and sun and moon. He’s giving thanks for Genesis 1, the story of creation.
Now as we sit around our Thanksgiving tables this week we may start by thanking God for the sky and the earth and the stars and the sun and the moon, but chances are you’ll probably thank God first for your family, for food on the table, for your paycheck, and for things like that. But that is exactly the point of the Psalm. The God who created the whole universe also cares about us, his people. The God who is completely out there cares about us down here.
Right now I’m participating in the Ockenga Fellows program up at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Once a quarter myself and a handful of students go up to the seminary to learn and discuss how our faith makes a difference in things like business, work, technology, healthcare, politics, and the arts. At our last session, one of our teachers shared a quote by Abraham Kuyper, who was a pastor in the Netherlands who became Prime Minister of that country for several years. His quote perfectly links how the God who is Lord over all of creation cares about every inch of it. He says this:
“…there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!”
Yes. Christ is Lord of every square inch of the heavens and the earth and the stars and the sun and the moon—over every inch of the universe. But Christ is also Lord of all 5 foot 8 inches of you. And however tall the people around your Thanksgiving table are, your 4-foot child to your 6-foot husband, Christ is Lord of them too. Christ is Lord if your 3-foot by 6-foot table and later when you’re watching football downstairs Christ is Lord of your 50 inch 4K TV. Even if you don’t open your door one single inch on Thanksgiving Day because you’re all alone for the Holidays, Christ is still Lord of your home.
So what does this mean for us? This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for creation. Let’s thank God for making this beautiful world, for the sunshine, and a cold New England winter. But let’s not just give thanks for creation, let’s give thanks for the Creator. Let’s thank God for being good and for caring about and ruling over every inch of creation. And most of all we can thank God that through Jesus Christ the Lord of all creation who could stay far above us, has drawn near to us, so near we can’t even measure it in inches. Let me pray.
Pastor Jonathan Romig gave this homily at the Thanksgiving Eve service at Immanuel Church.