We Thank God for Freedom of Religion
A Thanksgiving Sermon, prepared by Pastor Jim Kniseley and presented at Resurrection on November 19, 2006, at the annual Thanksgiving Service.
Boys and Girls, tonight we are here at church to say “thank you” to God for the blessings we’ve received this past year. A “blessing” is something good that we receive and we don’t have to pay for it. It comes to us because the giver wants us to have something we need.
God gives us blessings all year long. Sometimes we remember to say thanks and sometimes we forget. Thanksgiving time is a good time to really say thanks to God.
Tonight I have a cornucopia and it has inside slips of paper that talk about some blessings God has given us this past year. I’ll pull out one blessing at a time and read it. If this is a blessing you have received, raise your hand, and I’ll give it to one of you to hold. After we have given out all the blessings tonight, I’ll have you thank God by doing something special. This will be your prayer. I’ll have you walk up to the altar and place your blessing on the altar as your way of saying thanks to God…
Dear Friends in Christ,
I want to thank God for the blessing of religious freedom that we enjoy in this
nation. One of the reasons that you and
I gather tonight here in this sanctuary is because we live in a nation that
respects and upholds the right for us to gather and worship in the way that we
choose. I am very mindful that we are
I am grateful to Tom and Nancy Evans for letting me read their copy of American Gospel by Jon Meacham. It gave me a lot of good information for tonight’s Thanksgiving Sermon.
folks came to
1630 public support for ministers
1631 suffrage and right to hold office only for church members
1635 all non-church members must also attend church
1638 all non-members should also pay for preaching
are some of the ingredients of that statute that are the basis for the Bill of
Rights in the Constitution of the
· the government will not force anyone to financially support religion, either
through taxes or offerings
· you may hold public office no matter what your religious persuasion
is the key paragraph that is even now a part of the Constitution of the
Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinion or belief; but that all men shall be free profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
Tonight we thank God that we are the inheritors of this
gift of religious freedom in the
Many of us have stood before the grave of Thomas Jefferson and read the inscription that he penned himself. He listed just five things to say and one of the five is that he authored the Statute for Religious Freedom.
So it is that we tonight freely participate in the sacrament of the altar, hear a sermon that is unrestrained by the government, give our offerings or not in the amount we choose, pray to God in a way that we choose, and teach our children our values and ways.
Yes, tonight we do have lots to be thankful for. Thanks be to God!