This morning, I am in Sacramento preparing to enjoy a family Thanksgiving celebration. I’m deeply grateful for this day. I was thinking about thankfulness, and was drawn to this central word of thanksgiving in the life of Jesus (and from my journal a while back):
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29 NIV)
I haven’t usually thought about this as a prayer passage, but just as He does with the loaves and fish when He multiplies them for the feeding of thousands, He takes, thanks, breaks and gives the bread to His followers. Will it multiply in them to eternal life?
“When He had given thanks” happens here twice. Jesus says grace twice here! He probably “said grace” before the meal. Jesus is a thankful person. He really does give thanks in everything. My gratitude level is more haphazard. I’m glad for my end-of-the-day Examen exercise. This is when I journal ten “thanks” to God as I reflect back on my day. God is inviting me to live thankfully all the time. This would make my soul more bouyant. I would more regularly remember that I really do live a graced life.
My thank You’s are sometimes as simple as, “Thank You for this hot cup of coffee I can make and enjoy this morning. Not everyone has what I have.” “Thank You for a toasted piece of bread with jelly on it. It is a feast compared with what some in my world have available to them today.” “Thank You, Father, for a mansion of a house, not compared with wealthier areas of South Orange county, but compared with families suffering in Port Au Prince, Haiti, often with no housing or temporary housing at best. You have provided for us richly.”
My prayer today, Father, is that I would be awakened to the good things in each moment so that I notice them, acknowledge them and offer thanks in the midst. Help me express the gratitude of my heart to You in words and movments toward You. Amen.
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