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A Lesson from Thanksgiving Day

The table is set with a lavish spread – it is a Thanksgiving feast fit for a king. A servant shows you your way to your own special seat at the table and an empty plate is set before you. The aromas are breathtaking! This will surely be a thanksgiving feast to remember!

As you begin to soak in the culinary delights around and decide what to pile on your plate first, the host…the guy with the really cool messy-spiked hair shows up at the head of the table. The lights in the dining room fade slightly, creating a mood. You focus on his “soul patch goatee” as he utter the words “let’s pray for what we are about to receive.” He prays – at times waving his hands excitedly – and then ends with a triumphant “amen”!

“Yes”, you think! “Now it is time to dig in!” Instead, the host begins to fill his plate with food. He is the host, after all – and he hasn’t really invited you to do the same yet. You should do the polite thing and let him pile on his fixings first, right? Then…the host takes a bite of his turkey. The look on his face could tell you that it was the picture perfect Paula Dean-inspired turkey and probably so moist that it just melted in his taste buds. Let’s not assume though…the host is about to tell us that very thing.

“This turkey…it is…wow…so tender. Oh, man! This turkey is what we came here for today, right! This turkey is good! It just melts right in your mouth!”

Well, of course you agree…you can see it on his face. Now the host takes bite after bite after bite of thanksgiving trimmings and takes a moment to describe them. Meanwhile, your stomach is about to scream to be fed.

Some of you are getting my point – others of you are wondering if I am recalling a bad experience at Thanksgiving. The truth is – it is a bad experience that most of us have been through…and many of us are responsible for.

When we come to worship together…we all come to the table to feast. We come to bring our all and lay it before our God. As worship leaders, however, we have the danger of being that well-meaning host who describes how great the feast is – but never offers for the rest of the table to dig in. What behaviors have you seen before that can keep a congregation feeling “restricted”? Take a moment and leave a comment. We can learn best and grow best from each other – and I look forward to hearing your answers!

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