Taking and Breaking (November 19, 2012)

…Opening To…

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. (Meister Eckhart)

…Listening In…

Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted. When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.” (John 6:11-12; context)

…Filling Up…

Since it’s the week of Thanksgiving in the good ole U.S. of A, let’s spend a few days examining thanksgiving in its non-holiday variety. Each day, we are going to talk about a different aspect of thanksgiving, but first, we should start with some background to locate the word in its Biblical context.

Long before Thanksgiving became an official holiday when our 16th president Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it so in 1863, long before the pilgrims sat down to dine wearing their buckle hats and the sanitized version of history, long before anyone from another continent even knew this one existed, Jesus stood in a grassy place with five thousand of his closest friends. He was unwilling to send them away hungry, so he sent his disciples to scout for rations. They turned up a meager supply – five barley loaves and two small fish, a laughable amount by any standard.

But Jesus takes the bread and breaks it all the same. And he distributes it to everyone, and everyone eats just enough with plenty to spare. Between the taking and the breaking, Jesus adds an all important step. He gives thanks. He gives thanks even though the food could barely feed five, let alone five thousand. He gives thanks to God for what he has, meager though it is, and it turns out to be enough. The Greek word for “thanksgiving” has travelled all the way down into English and become the word Eucharist, the word some churches use for Holy Communion. So whenever we come together to share the bread and wine, we are actively giving thanks to God for the blessings of this life, which is what Jesus did in that grassy place long ago.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you are the source of all blessing. Give to me vision to see that blessing, a heart that is always ready to thank you, and hands that work toward the coming of your kingdom; in Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, eager to look for your blessing in my life and eager to be a reason that others give thanks to you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s