Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
What You Eat This Week
If it is true what they say, “You are what you eat!” then this week I’m:
I suspect that the same is true for millions of Americans this week of Thanksgiving.
The Thanksgiving Holiday is Not About What You Eat
As important as food is to the Thanksgiving holiday, especially in the United States (and surely in the Blonski house), it isn’t really about the food.
As Marcie says, in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving:
“But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving,’ Charlie Brown.”
Thanksgiving is about family. It is about gathering together to give thanks. It is about sharing the blessings received by God.
And it is about the worship of God.
Worship and Eating
Every year at Thanksgiving, my family and I go to church. I realize that not everyone does that.
And it is somewhat of a “occupational hazard” for me, being a pastor.
But about 25 years ago, or so, it occurred to me that worshiping on Thanksgiving made sense.
The Greek word for “giving thanks” is eucharistia. It is from this word that we get the English word “eucharist” – which is one of the names of the Sacrament of the Altar.
The name comes from the fact that Jesus “gave thanks” (“blessing it” in Matthew 26:26) for the bread and the wine that he was using to institute the sacrament.
The Sacrament of the Altar (or the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion) is celebrated, and participated, in a worship service.
And Thanksgiving Day (or Eve) is an extremely appropriate day to celebrate the Eucharist!
This is where the title of this devotion comes in.
What is eaten (and drunk) in the Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus Christ (in, with, and under the bread and the wine).
Martin Luther’s Small Catechism
The Sacrament of the Altar is “the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.”
Now, while the body and blood of Jesus are there because he puts them there, not everyone receives the benefits of the body and blood of Jesus.
Only those “who has faith in these words: ‘Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins’” receives the blessings of the Sacrament (forgiveness of sins, life and salvation). “Anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.”
For the one who has faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are what you eat in the Lord’s Supper. You are “Christ,” in a sense. I don’t mean that you are now Jesus, the Son of God. What I mean is that you have “Christ” living in you, giving you the power of salvation.
You can now live in the forgiveness of sins! A thankful life that shares the Good News about Jesus!
You can give thanks to God for all his blessings!
And that is truly what Thanksgiving is all about!
Heavenly Father, ‘We thank [you] for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land. We thank [you] for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice.’ In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Linus’ dinner prayer, from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving]
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