Dad’s Last Thanksgiving Challenge
It was 8 years ago, November 19, 2006, that my father, Dr. Leslie Parrott, gave the call to worship at the Biltmore Church of the Nazarene. This would be his last Thanksgiving in church. He passed on to heaven 10 months later. Dad carefully thought through and wrote word by word, the call to worship for Thanksgiving Sunday. These words continue to call us to praise and thanks today:
Call to worship: 11/19/06 By: A.L. Parrott Sr.
If you’re planning to travel during the Thanksgiving break, you are probably
- …mapping the route,
- …arranging the lodging, and
- …looking forward to being with your family and friends around a sumptuous Thanksgiving Dinner.
Everyone’s travel plans are different. But each trip has three parts:
- First is the starting point, which for us, is Maricopa County.
- Second comes the actual trip itself, the journey by air or automobile.
- And third comes the destination somewhere beyond this valley.
The starting point, for the Christian journey, is the cross where Jesus gave himself for the forgiveness and cleansing of our sins. George Barnard caught the imagination of millions around the world when he wrote his hymn, THE OLD RUGGED CROSS. There was a time when it was the most popular hymn in the world. There is probably no one here who cannot sing the first stanza from memory:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
the emblem of suffering and shame
it was on that old cross
that the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
The road to heaven, laid out for the followers of Jesus, begins outside Jerusalem on a hill called Golgotha.
The Christian destination is the New Jerusalem. This Celestial City is described brilliantly in John’s Revelation, in chapters 21 and 22. If you want to study a travel brochure on Heaven, read John’s description in those two poignant chapters.
And third, being a follower of Christ on the Christian journey includes a succession of significant steps in growing more Christ-like.
- Am I more like Jesus today than yesterday?
- Am I pressing on?
- Does my life demonstrate the love, joy, and peace of Jesus more now than it did a year ago?
The motto of our church here at Biltmore is, LOVING LIKE JESUS LOVED. I have a feeling that most of us need to find more ways to improve our love. I know I do!
Maybe this is what St. Paul had in mind when he said, I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS.
So I say, to each one of you. Make a list of reasons for being appreciative this Thanksgiving! That spiritual exercise alone might help some of us to be more loving during our 2006 Thanksgiving celebration.