Greetings all, here is your e-votional for the week…
Vindicate me, O Lord,  for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and mind.  For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you.  I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites; I hate the company of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.  I wash my hands in innocence, and go around your altar, O Lord, singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all your wondrous deeds.  O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides.  Do not sweep me away with sinners, nor my life with the bloodthirsty, those in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes.  But as for me, I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.”-Psalm 26
Thanksgiving is on its way and you know what that means, it means turkey, football, arguments with your family and traffic.  Hurrah!  But before we dive into that second plate of food, before we begin simulating our political arguments ahead of Uncle Joe’s arrival, and before we hate-watch the Dallas Cowboys, lets pause for a moment and reflect on this Psalm because it’s a good one!I chose Psalm 26 because it has the word “thanksgiving” in it and I felt like that made it appropriate for our consideration six days out from the holiday.  But it is a really interesting Psalm!  It is not a Psalm of thanksgiving, it is a Psalm of obedience.  It is a braggadocious Psalm wherein the author writes of his fidelity to God.  In this way, it is interesting in that it focuses us, the hearer, not on God but on the steadfast faithfulness of the Psalm’s author.  “Look what I have done,” he writes!  “Look how faithful I am,” he pleads.  So that leads me to this question, why do we brag?

We brag because we feel we are being overlooked.  We brag because we want recognition when we feel we haven’t gotten it.  The great opera singer, the all-star quarterback, the award-winning author; these people have no need to brag.  They have been recognized.  But most of us do feel that urge sometimes.  “Why haven’t I been noticed,” we wonder.  For those of us who feel that way, this is our Psalm.  While we Presbyterians are very good at the corporate confession of sin, we are poor braggers.  We hide our accomplishments and magnify our failures.  It is in our DNA.

As we enter the Thanksgiving week, I hope we can see in the text of Psalm 26 that there is a relationship between gratitude and obedience, between thanksgiving and fidelity.  If we are grateful then there should be natural consequences in our lives of those feelings.  That consequence should be obedience to that for which we are thankful.  Do you see?  Gratitude without reciprocity rings hollow; it is empty calories.  This Thanksgiving, be grateful!  Let gratitude lead to a desire to cleave ever closer to the God who is the source of all blessings.  And then as we embrace that fidelity, don’t forget it is ok to brag about it.

Prayer:  Holy God, thank you for the many blessings we have received.  Thank you for family, friends, and faith. Thank you for your Church, and for the people we meet within it.  Thank you for shaping us with your Spirit.  Thank you for sending Christ into this world.  This week, help us to be obedient to his calling in our lives and strengthen us for the work which lies ahead.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.