Our nation is planning yet another annual celebration again this year that we fondly call Thanksgiving. In case you didn’t know, it is a national holiday and is held every year on the fourth or last Thursday in November. But like years past, this year’s celebration will first start with a gathering. Simply put, everyone needs a tribe. Every soul longs for community, and the majority of family members just want to go home. There are a lot of reasons why this day should have never happened in the first place, yet here we are.
During the 1500s, the reformation had rocked the Catholic Church, and people were seeking freedom to worship. England and its monarchy had separated from the pope. The Protestant movement was spreading across Europe, and a small group sought independence from the Anglican Church of England and became known as the separatists or puritans. These puritans sailed 3,000 miles to America to establish a colony of Christ followers in the U.S. The problem was, they had no shelter, little food, no seed, and absolutely no knowledge of the area, weather conditions nor possessed any agricultural ability. Many died in that first winter from the frigid conditions. If they were to survive, they would need a tribe, and along came a local Indian chief named Massasoit. Thus, the puritans, or pilgrims, found their tribe. The next year, they celebrated their harvest by inviting the chief and 90 of his warriors to a feast. The gathering was a multi-day event focused on prayer, worship, and thanksgiving to God.
Every celebration needs a gathering, and every person seeks a tribe. It’s also true that every king seeks a kingdom, and every army needs a leader. David the anointed, yet not placed king of Israel, was young, powerful, anointed, and alone. In the book of 1 Samuel chapter 22, he was a king with no kingdom, a leader with no one to lead. All he needed was a tribe, and he found that tribe in verse 2 in a cave. It turns out 400 of the greatest warriors in history were in search of a leader they could call their king, and, thus, David and his mighty men were born. David eventually became the king over all of Israel, and it is true that you can’t have a celebration without the gathering first. His mighty men served with him throughout his time. A band of misfit sojourners, steeped in debt and outcast from society, submitted their allegiance to a misfit sojourning king, in the middle of nowhere and in a cave.
There was no banquet hall for the pilgrims, no royal guests, and no fine china on that first Thanksgiving. For David, there was no royal palace, no coronation, and no fan fair. He was simply the greatest king the world would ever know but, at the time, hidden in hole in the ground and kept out of sight. The world soon found out about Thanksgiving just like they know of King David, and it all started with a humble gathering.
Here’s the skinny, do you have a tribe? You know, someone to gather with? Celebrations are being planned as you read. I’m not talking about Thanksgiving preparations. I’m warning you that Jesus is returning soon.
Find a tribe, gather with us at Christpoint Church on the square, in Sparta, because every celebration starts with a gathering. Don’t miss the gathering for the world my friends. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.
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