Reflections after Thanksgiving.
So I attending small Thanksgiving liturgy yesterday for the first time in my life. When I say small there was about 18 of us gathered in a circle as we reflected on Thanksgiving, read Scripture, prayed, confessed, heard a short but powerful sermon, and partook of the Eucharist.
I learned that the Greek word for thanksgiving is eucharsteo (yoo-khar-is-teh’-o) which has deep meaning within the Christian tradition – most clearly this is what we do on a weekly basis in the tradition I am currently a part of.
There is something powerful about the Eucharist, which I have come to know. First, the Eucharist (communion, Lord’s Supper) is a meal that is prepared by God and we bring nothing but are simply invited to partake. This is a simple, yet profound reminder that everything we have, including life itself is a gift.
Now I’m taking a short online course that has been very powerful as it teaches how to find the sacred in the everyday – something I am learning to do as a stay-at-home father. At the root of this class is the understanding and constant reminder that all of life is a gift which is powerfully transformational because when we begin to lose sight of this it is easy to feel entitled and entitlement robs us of joy. When I begin to think I deserve something, it is no longer a joy when I receive it and if I do not receive it…well then I’m offended and angry.
Now back to the Eucharist.
One of the most powerful aspects of the Eucharist for me is that it reminds me that all are invited and it is more about our response than getting all our beliefs right (as if any of us has all our beliefs right!). I prefer a centered set understanding compared to a bounded set.
What I mean by this is that there is a clear center, but no clear boundaries.
Many religious people do not like this understanding because it becomes quite difficult to tell who is “in” and who is “out”, but in my experience this is true and so much more helpful. It also seems like this is what Jesus taught. How many times did Jesus talk to those (religious gatekeepers?) who thought they had a clear bounded set of who was “in” and who was “out” only to flip the entire thing! Brilliant!
As I experienced this Thanksgiving liturgy it was a reminder that I am invited to simply receive this Thanksgiving meal.
If nothing else, may this be a reminder that –
If you’re here, the universe has given you the gift of life and all you can do is receive.