Okay, I have a confession.
Rarely do I do these as your pastor. But, I have to make it known.
...deep, dramatic breath...
I’ve already started making my list of all the things I want to do/accomplish in 2018.
Yea, I’m one of those people. What makes me different is that instead of calling it a “New Year’s Resolution” list, I call it, “The Things I’m Going to Try and Do that Will Bring a Smile to My Face” list.
What a catchy name, yea?
Want to know what is number one on my list?
To live from a place of thankfulness.
Did you know in Greek the word for thanksgiving is Eucharist?
Which is what the long prayer we offer up before we celebrate communion is often titled “The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving”.
The Great Thanksgiving prayer is in fact that—a prayer of thanks. It tells the story of the gospel,
it reminds us of God’s promises, Christ’s faithfulness, and the Holy Spirit’s presence. The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving gives thanks for creation, then for redemption (a fancy word meaning the action of God not leaving us to our own devices), moving through Christ's conception and birth to his suffering and death and then to his resurrection and ascension. In giving thanks and retelling the story of salvation history, we are reminded of God’s graces and how in the simple meal of bread and juice/wine, we are united as God’s family, on earth, and in heaven.
Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist—it is a meal of thanksgiving. It is a taste of what will be and a reminder of how all of life is a gift. A gift best experienced when shared with one another.
So yea, I want to live this type of life—a Eucharistic life. And there is no better time to start than today, in this season of thanksgiving.
I’m thankful for you, friend. I’m thankful that somewhere along the way your story and my story crossed, and that together we are telling the life-giving story of God.
What a story it is, too. It is one full of beauty and heartache, good times and hard times, bountiful harvests and valleys of dry bones. Yet the thesis, the main point, the good news in it all is the promise of God’s faithfulness.
So, as we move into the official start to these ‘holy days,’ I share with you one of my favorite quotes from Presbyterian pastor and writer, Frederick Buchner:
The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you.
May you know how thankful we are for you. May you know how delighted God is to call you God’s own. May you know, in the deepest part of your being, the truth in the psalmist words:
God is God,
And God has bathed us in light.
Festoon the shrine with garlands,
hang colored banners above the altar!
You’re our God, and we thank you.
O my God, we lift high your praise.
Thank God—God’s so good.
God’s love never quits!