“To say that thanksgiving can be done in just an hour is folly,” declared Bro. Eli Soriano in answer to a rebel turned critic. The preacher was referring to Willy Santiago, an excommunicated member who had established his own church.
As Members Church of God International celebrates their three-day International Thanksgiving for the 4th quarter of 2010, Presiding Minister to MCGI Bro. Eli Soriano laid strong arguments and rich biblical information behind the frequent offering of the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
The congregation of MCGI is celebrating the thanksgiving service from December 24 to 26 this year, a three-day stretch of activities that includes prayers, praising and mostly a spiritual feast of biblical topics.
A rebel turned critic of the International Evangelist said there is no established basis whatsoever to hold a three-day thanksgiving, and that the same can be done in one hour.
However, Bro. Soriano read verses which specifically point to the length of said thanksgiving celebrations. According to Bro. Soriano, thanksgiving is and must be done with tenable time to accommodate appropriate activities and not done in a single hour.
He recounts the events in the Book of Acts in Chapter 2 verse 46 when the faithful would gather in the temple to break bread daily. Even in the time of King Solomon when he led Israel to offer burnt offerings of choice cattle meat, fat, and flour before God, the ceremony lasted for two weeks (14 days), recorded in I Kings 8:62-65.
Further, during the time when Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, Moses asked the ruling pharaoh to allow his people sojourn for three days so they could offer sacrifices to God. Bro. Eli explained that if their journey took three days, it is just logical for the Israelites to accomplish their sacrifices at a longer time. He asked, “Why? Isn’t it a fact that Israel lingered in the wilderness for 40 years?”
Other critics view MCGI’s thanksgiving as weird. Detractors even publish discouraging statements about the celebration online.
But “it is is a beautiful thing for us to have a feeling of gratitude,” Bro. Eli continued. MCGI’s thanksgiving is the fulfillment of one of the most important prophecies in the Bible, the one written in chapter 30 of the book of Jeremiah. It is something that will be carried through eternity, and chapters 7:11-12 and 5:6-13 of Revelations prove it.
The International Evangelist also shared that the Bible is teeming with the command to give thanks to God. When searched using a Bible software, thanksgiving is found in 15 pages, and its Filipino counterpart, “pasalamat/salamat” is written 142 times, outnumbering the commandment “to love” or “ibigin” in Filipino, which is found only 92 times in 10 pages, and is used in varied contexts.
To his detractors, Bro. Eli Soriano has this to say – “If we look at the profile of other religious organizations, nothing compares to ours, in the offering of thanksgiving. This is the only group with abundant service of thanksgiving. I trust there is no other Church where the prophecy of Jeremiah spells true, and where the commandment in the Bible to thank God for everything is fulfilled, but in ours.”
(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)