Thanksgiving Day USA

November 26, 2020

Icon Not Made with Human Hands Luke 17:11-19 - On the way to Jerusalem [Jesus] was passing along between Sama'ria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well." (RSV)

Confess the Lord for He is good! Alleluia! – The Lord rebukes those who keep the Passover the way the Jews did, just as he rebuked certain lepers he had cleansed. Recall that He loved the man who was thankful, but He was angry with the ungrateful ones, because they did not acknowledge their Deliverer. They thought more highly of their cure from leprosy than of He who had healed them…. And realize that the man who returned to give thanks was given much more than the others. Besides being healed of the leprosy, he was told by the Lord, “Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well.” (St. Athanasius, Festal Letter 6)

America is a country blessed with so many good things. At Thanksgiving we celebrate that we, too, have been blessed by God. Let us not be like the nine lepers who rejoiced only in what they had been given. Let us be like the tenth leper and praise God with a loud voice, thanking Him as both the Giver of Good Gifts and – more importantly – as Savior. As we thank God for our freedom and blessings let us remember what true freedom is and from Whom it comes.

The icon of Christ above is called the “Mandylion” (meaning face which appeared on a napkin). The story that comes to us in Christian history is that King Abgar of Edessa wanted to see Jesus, the miracle worker who went about healing, but he could not leave his country. Instead, he sent a servant, who presented himself before the Lord with the instruction to remember what Jesus looked like. During the meeting the servant presented Jesus with a cloth to wipe His face, and the image of His Face appeared on the cloth. This story is recorded by Eusebius in his “History of the Church” in the early fourth century. Tradition holds that this “Icon Not Made by Human Hands” is the first image of our Lord. Other sources suggest that King Abgar was a leper, and that when he laid eyes on the cloth containing the image of the Lord, was instantly cured.


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Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Feasts & Fasts

January
1 Circumcision of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Feast of St. Basil the Great, New Year's Day (Civil)
6 Theophany of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ
10 Sunday After Theophany
18 Martin Luther King Day (USA)
17 Sunday of Zacchaeus
24 Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
30 Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom
31 Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

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Lamb and Redeemer

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge praise You in song: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing." (Proverbs 9:13 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

No one has to be embarrassed over his sinful state. ‘There is no man who, while living, does not sin,’ and the more sinful the man, the stronger will be God’s help in leading him out of his sinful mire. But the help of God comes only when the sinner repents with heartfelt contrition and has the will to reform. Not seeing in himself enough strength of soul to break away from sinful deeds, he asks for God’s help. This is where the mercy of God, Who does not wish the death of the sinner but wants him to be converted and live, is often evident.… If the voice of conscience awakens in us a feeling of remorse or repentance, then we must pray fervently to the Guardian Angel of our human existence that he may keep us from corrupt downfalls and help us ‘serve God with fear and trembling.’

Elder Macarius of Optina