“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
God so loved us that he gave his Son. As children of God we have all been given much. God loved in such a way that he gave! The greatest of his gifts is his love and the gift of saving faith! So we respond by giving him thanks! We do so as we are gathered together in a meal of thanksgiving! We gather at the Table of our Lord that he has set!
The banquet begins as our Lord blesses and distributes his gifts to us under the form of bread and wine. He serves us there and does it all for the forgiveness of our sins and the strengthening of our faith! An ancient title for the service of the Lord’s Supper is “Eucharist.” This word means thanksgiving, perhaps in reference to our Lord’s giving of thanks to the Father while instituting it. From early times, however, the church has seen the meal as an opportunity to give thanks to God for his gifts to us as we gather! There our Savior promises himself to his people in his words, “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
And we are one as we share this time of thanksgiving! The Didache (the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”), a first century overview of worship and Christian life says that at the time of Communion the pastor prayed for God’s church to be gathered from the ends of the earth into his kingdom, even as the grains of wheat had been scattered upon the mountains but had been gathered into one loaf.
So we give thanks as we gather together! I shared in last month’s article there are varieties of gifts in the one Spirit. There are diverse ways in which we serve God in our lives and our church. Yet we are one as we receive of the one bread and the one cup! We do so until the day we banquet in glory at the wedding feast of the Lamb which has no end!
So we give thanks as we gather together! Our Thanksgiving Eve Service this year will be held on Wednesday, November 24th at 7pm. Let us share this time together as our God gives the gifts of his forgiving grace. For we give thanks as we gather together in his name!