Thanksgiving Day as the new Judgment Day

Dear friends in Fallbrook,

Last week’s New York Times included an entire section devoted to the planning and preparation of a fine Thanksgiving feast. But before all the tips, tricks, recipes, and inspiration packed into 20 pages of newsprint there was a letter from the food editor offering nothing short of spiritual counsel to weary cooks.

The letter offered “radical acceptance” and a “nonjudgmental” guide to planning and preparing a feast. The letter urged readers to “relax.” It even proclaimed, “Everything is going to be all right.” And perhaps most striking of all, the letter explained that “on Thanksgiving, something is asked of each of us.”

Thanksgiving day easily becomes a personal Judgment Day.

Isn’t that the truth! An occasion with the purported purpose of thankfulness for blessings received has become a demanding test of our worthiness (or not) as cook and host. Our guest list (or lack thereof) becomes a referendum on how well-loved (or not) we really feel. The amount and extravagance of the food is a reminder of how wealthy (or not) you really are.

Thanksgiving easily becomes a personal Judgment Day.

This month at St. Stephen Lutheran we’re taking time to look at teachings from Jesus that deal with waiting, watching, and anticipating the final judgment. We’re discovering that Christianity is unique because ultimately it doesn’t ask something of us, but offers it to us instead.

So we wait, we watch, and we anticipate the end of our days. But not with dread over whether we’ve done enough and been enough, but with joy that the one setting the table for the feast isn’t you or I, it’s the Lord Jesus.

I invite you to come and hear more on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM. All are welcome. Or, consider listening to The Sunday Sermon podcast. This year as you feast on turkey and stuffing, be sure to feast your ears on some good news, too.

Serving in Christ,

Pastor Bassett


In Between.jpg

Christians live in a time of difficult tension between what some have called, “the already and the not yet.” We already enjoy status as co-heirs with Christ, but the full consummation of Christ’s kingdom has not yet arrived.

  1. Anticipation
    November 12, 2017
  2. Individuality
    November 19, 2017
  3. Judgment
    November 26, 2017

Sunday Sermon Podcast.jpg

If all you hear from the pulpit each week is politics, moralizing, and life-lessons then you’re probably starving for some good news. Don’t go hungry.

Lutherans believe that Jesus Christ sets the agenda for what the pastor should preach. Jesus himself said, “Feed my sheep.” He also said, “Preach the gospel.” The gospel is good news—not good advice, good morals, or good ideas. As a Lutheran church, we won’t starve you with more commands to do this or do that, we’ll feed you with the Savior who forgives the very people who don’t keep the commands of God. So feast your ears on some good news at St. Stephen Lutheran.