感恩節:美國的傳統節日

2013年11月26日 | 作者: haiping | 165 浏览

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每年十一月第四个星期四,通常是最后一个星期四是美国的感恩节。今年的美国感恩节就是本周四。它是美国人合家欢聚的传统节日,无论人走多远,往往都会返家过节,因此美国人提起感恩节总是备感亲切。过完感恩节,通常人们就开始进入SEASON(圣诞季节),预备心和欢喜快乐来等待耶稣基督降临的圣诞平安夜和圣诞节。下面这篇文章是一位专栏作家MICHAEL CRAVEN写的感恩节背景文章。

------------- 感恩節:美國的傳統節日

專欄作家 MICHAEL CRAVEN

當我們再一次迎接美國傳統節日–感恩節時,我認為有必要反思和確認我們國家悠久的歷史,並向全能的神獻上感恩。

1789年11月3日,喬治·華盛頓首次發表總統感恩宣言,他呼籲美國留出一天的時間,向“偉大而光榮的先驅者們的仁慈之心和善行之舉,以及現在的或是將來的……”獻上感恩。

以下是華盛頓總統當時交予他副官的致辭:

鑒於萬國萬邦都要承認全能上帝的旨意,遵守他的意願,對他賜予的福祉心懷感激,並謙卑地祈求他的護庇和恩寵……而且華盛頓總統的呼籲也得到了國會的支持:

鑒於美國國會參眾兩院的聯合請求,“向美國民眾推立一天作為公共的感恩禱告日,以感恩之心答謝全能上帝眾多而又顯著的給予,特賜眾人和平良機,建立政府,得享平安幸福。

……我們聯合起來向他表達我們的真誠和謙卑,感謝他仁慈的關愛和在我們還沒有成為一個國家之前對我們的保護:

感謝他的旨意和各樣顯著的憐憫在戰爭後期的進程和結果中有利的介入;感謝現今極大程度上的安寧、聯合,並我們已經享受到的充足;

感謝我們能以和平、理性的方式來建立政府憲法,為了我們的安康和福祉,特別是我們國家最近制定的能使我們受到祝福的公民和宗教信仰自由,以及我們獲取、傳播有用知識的方法;總之,感謝他樂意賜予我們的一切。

總統宣言明確地代表了政府呼籲這個國家的百姓承認並感謝上帝豐盛的祝福。這些並非善意的宗教濫調,而是反映了生命與現實的一致性,並是承認有一位神的絕對聲明;這位神已經在聖經中、自然界和人子耶穌基督里顯明了他自己。這位上帝,就是我們國家曾經承認的獨一真神,今天的百姓卻背叛了,並且拒絕承認、侍奉他。

華盛頓總統用以下這些話結束了他的宣言:

“並且我們可以以最謙卑的姿態團結起來,向萬國統治者偉大的主禱告懇求,祈求他赦免我們國家以及它的過犯,為了使我們所有人,無論在公共還是私人的位置上,正確並及時地履行我們各自相關的職責;致使我們國家政府能夠依靠現有的智慧和正義不斷地為所有人帶來祝福,謹慎並忠誠地實施遵行憲法,保護、引導所有的君王和國家(特別是向我們顯出好意的),並賜給他們良好的政府,和平與和諧;促進知識並實踐真正的信仰和美德,在他們和我們中間添加技術;並且普遍地賜福予全人類生活的繁榮。”

74年之後,在重大的南北戰爭中,林肯總統向美國發出同樣的呼籲:承認美國的許多祝福來自於上帝,“耶和華應該按照我們的罪,憤怒地來處罰我們,然而他給了我們憐憫。”林肯總統,他如我們第一位總統一樣,再次呼籲這個國家,全國感恩並且悔改:

“我建議他們應當向神獻上讚美,因着他奇妙的拯救和祝福。他們做了,謙卑地為我們國家的墮落和悖逆而悔改……並且熱誠地懇求神全能的雙手來醫治我們國家的傷痛,儘快地恢復這個國家,並和神創造的目的一致,享受着和平、和睦、寧靜和聯合。”

愚昧的是,美國曾經一度把國家的認同和獨立與神隔絕開來,儘管是神誕生了這個國家,並祝福了它這麼長時間。所以,我認為,我們應該很好地回想這些偉人們在感恩節的宣言,並再一次向全能神獻上感謝,感謝他向着這個國家長久的忍耐和憐憫,並且為我們國家的悖逆和漠視聖潔公義的淫蕩而謙卑地悔改。

實際上來說,這個國家看起來迷失了方向,拋棄了起初的愛,並經常效法這個世界,應該從教會開始悔改。在這個感恩節里,要為我們個人、團體和整個國家的罪而深刻哀慟的悔改,以此答謝全能神賜予我們豐富而充裕的祝福。我親愛的弟兄姐妹們,這是我們僅有的希望,為了這份真實的希望和饒恕的應許,我們真的應該感謝神!

在這個感恩節里,願耶和華照他豐盛的慈愛,將聖靈澆灌在你、你的家庭,你的教會和整個國家裡。

Thanksgiving: A National Tradition

Michael Craven

S. Michael Craven is the President of Battle For Truth and the author of Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity (Navpress, 2009). Battle For Truth is dedicated to equipping Christians with a serious theological understanding of life and reality. For more information on Battle for Truth and the teaching ministry of S. Michael Craven, visit:www.battlefortruth.org

As we, once again, approach this national day of thanksgiving, I thought it necessary to reflect upon our nation’s long history of acknowledging and giving thanks to Almighty God.

On October 3, 1789, George Washington issued the nation’s first presidential proclamation, in which he called the nation to set aside a day for giving thanks to that “great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be…”

President Washington gave under his official hand the following words:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and  favor…

Furthermore, President Washington acknowledged that he was joined by the Congress in his appeal to the nation:

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:” … that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

This presidential proclamation represented, in unequivocal terms, the government’s call upon the people of this nation to acknowledge and give thanks to God for His many and abundant blessings. These were not benign religious platitudes, but absolute statements reflecting the consensus view of life and reality which acknowledged that there is one God; the God who has revealed Himself in Scripture, in nature and in the person of Jesus Christ. It is this God that the nation once acknowledged and it is this God, the one true God that the people of this nation have turned against and today refuse to acknowledge and serve.

President Washington concluded his proclamation with these words:

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Seventy-four years later, in the midst of the great Civil War, President Lincoln would issue a similar call to the nation acknowledging the nation’s many blessings from the Lord, “… who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” President Lincoln, like our first president, would once again call the nation to national thanksgiving and repentance with these words:

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience … and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

America, in its folly, has been in the process of severing its national identity and dependence from the God who has given it birth and blessed it for so long. Therefore, it seems to me that we might be well served to recall the proclamation of these great men set aside for this Thanksgiving holiday and once again give thanks to Almighty God for His longsuffering patience and mercy toward this nation and humbly repent of our national rebellion and wanton disregard for all that is holy and just.

This national repentance begins in the church, which has seemingly lost its way — abandoned (practically speaking) its first love and so often conformed to the world. May we on this Thanksgiving Day acknowledge the many and abundant blessings of Almighty God accompanied by a deep and sorrowful repentance for our individual, corporate and national sins. This, my dear brothers and sisters is our only hope and it is for this real hope and the promise of forgiveness that we can give thanks indeed!

May the Lord, in His great mercy, pour out His spirit upon you, your families, His church and this nation this Thanksgiving Day.

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S. Michael Craven is the president of the Center for Christ & Culture and the author of Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity (Navpress, 2009). Michael’s ministry is dedicated to equipping the church to engage the culture with the redemptive mission of Christ. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture and the teaching ministry of S. Michael Craven, visit www.battlefortruth.org.

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