Thanksgiving Sermons Show Disappointment In First Peace Year

Rejection of Treaty, Armenian Massacres and Industrial Strife Pointed to by Rev. S. R. Colladay – Others Deplore Chaos.

“We approach Thanksgiving today in a spirit very different from that which was ours last year,” said Rev. Samuel R. Colladay in his sermon during the union Thanksgiving services at Christ Church Cathedral yesterday. “Then, the armistice had just been signed and everything seemed possible. Now, we have learned that humanity can not be saved by any sudden blows, however stupendous.

“The revival of religion among our young men, of which we had heard so much, simply is not here. The international altruism which was to take the place of suspicion and national selfishness has broken down in many quarters, and most pathetically in the United States, if the action of the Senate in any way expresses the popular desire. Armenians are still being massacred and starved by the ruthless Turk. The industrial problems which loomed threateningly before the war have been accentuated. So we have been forced to realize that the world must still move forward by slowly-won victories of right over wrong.

“To my mind, there is more to be thankful for in the fact of this realization than in the impossible optimism that was ours last year. This, of course, means that we believe that God is behind all life, guiding and shaping it to His own ends. It is because, in the light of experience, we cannot believe that any sudden solving of our problems is His solving, that we are thankful for the awakening realization that our problems are still with us, to be solved only by hard-won vision, high courage and ever-deepening faith in the perfection and power of His will to bless. In the delusion of our first relief from horror of the great war, we were, by God’s goodness, almost children. Now, we are again men. We see new tasks, not dreamed of before – the Americanization of the foreign-born peoples in our midst, the forcing of our government to spring to the protection of weaker nations, and the winning for our children an education which will truly educate the whole man. We are girding ourselves for the struggle; and we thank God.”

At Trinity Church.

On Thanksgiving morning Bishop Brewster, at Trinity Church, took for his text Psalm 42:7, from the Psalter. He spoke of the circumstances under which came this Thanksgiving Day, after a year of deep disappointment, with a world full of trouble, of seeming chaos, of contention, of wars and rumors of wars, millions facing starvation, and, threatening our civilization, the wolf of hunger and the tiger of mob fury.

He then called attention to the outlook a year and a half ago, and to the ensuing demonstration of the reality of God and His judgments. The present time is fraught with menace for the timidity of unbelief. But the lesson to be learned was: Gratitude to God: a basis for trust in Him for the future. The outcome of thankfulness should be a hopeful trust. The trust of patient resignation is well. But the trust of brave expectancy is better. The psalmist has struggled for this lesson. He referred to his own thanksgiving with a multitude that kept holy-day. As then, so yet again, his heart cries! “Put thy trust in God for I will yet give Him thanks for the help of His countenance.” It is a picture of the life-lesson to be learned – brave, expectant trust in God the outcome of thanksgiving.

Union Congregational Service.

Rev. Thomas M. Hodgdon, speaking at the union service at the Congregational Church, West Hartford said:

“‘In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.’ 1 Thess. 5:18

“These words of the apostle Paul are put aside by many of us, as rhetorical camouflage – the glowing presentation of an impracticable ideal, easily punctured and shattered by the common sense of men whose feet are on the solid earth. It cannot be deemed that Paul was an idealist. This was a part of the splendid spirit of his indomitable soul. It must be remembered, however, that his ideals were enfolded in the good and perfect will of God in Christ Jesus. He is original only in the enthusiastic acceptance and energetic presentation of these ideals. For him that will presented both an ideal realized in Christ, and enabling discipline and grace, that made the impossible possible for his disciples.

“His is no vague and meaningless injunction to these Thessalonian Christians. He well knew that they knew the inner conflict of the human spirit and the fears without in the common day. They had suffered cruelly for their faith. They had lately stood – some of them – beside the open grave of loved ones. They lived and wrought in an atmosphere charged with hostility to their faith. They mingled with men who had scant sympathy for them in their struggles and small concern for their standards of conduct. And knowing all this the apostle says to them. ‘In everything give thanks.’ is there then an angle in the circle of every event in life and in every experience of the Christian from which life may be fairly viewed and real gratitude be felt and expressed? Paul says – Yes. And his words ring out a challenge even to the well trained and well meaning spirit of the man who is emancipated from the sin of ingratitude – the commonest of the common sins. It is God’s will that this should be so. It is so in Jesus, who was an example of holy living as well as the sacrifice for sin.

“He gave thanks for the common bread, turning the ordinary meal into a sacrament of praise. He gave thanks, when rejected by the wise and prudent, that babes received his message and rejoiced with him in the Father. He gave thanks at the grave of his friend Lazarus that God hears prayer always. The great apostle had received his Master’s spirit. What a giver of thanks was he! He cultivated assiduously the noble art of thanksgiving, and his written words are luminous with unaffected praise. Grant all this – but what a far cry from Paul to these troublous days. May it still be true that in everything the child of God may give thanks? Why not? If God be our Father: if He be more precious than anything He gives or anything He withholds, if ‘wisdom and love in secret fellowship still guide our world’s wandering’ why need we be confounded? To be specific – is it not a good time just now to be thankful for God’s Reserves – the bannered hosts that He will summon to his far flung battle line? He has men and women to match his mountains. He has seven times seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Men may say – No God and no Master – but He knows all and will make the wrath of man to praise Him.

“Is it not well also to remember with abounding thankfulness that the church of God is out in pursuit of big things, seeing more clearly than ever before the world program of the Master. ‘A broken and troubled world calls for deliverance.’ God’s people are saying with new emphasis – Here am I. Send me. We may be thankful too that the issue is being more clearly drawn. God or mammon. The Man of Nazareth or Karl Marx. The indifferent, the sluggish, the slacker will be challenged. He must take sides.”

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