Pondering for Thanksgiving Day 2019

Eucharistic Readings for Thanksgiving Day Year C

Deuteronomy 26:1-11  Psalm 100  Philippians 4:4-9   John 6:25-35

 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  (John 6:35)

Well this is very strange!  The reading from the Gospel of John for James Otis Sargent Huntington, which was for Monday (that I used yesterday) is the same one for today, Thanksgiving Day, Year C

It is interesting that the two components of Christian transformation are to come to Jesus and then believe in Jesus.  Jesus uses the terms of hunger and thirst to explain this concept.   This draws me back to my days at St Vincent de Paul Catholic School.  The sisters insisted that we children first eat all of our food before we drink our milk.  First we satisfied the hunger, and then we quenched our thirst.  I don’t know if they were making this particular connection, but now, as I write this, I can make the connection.

Just as eating a meal requires simple discipline to be deeply appreciated, so too does giving thanks. When we get into the church habit, it becomes a liturgical habit. The Holy meal that we are going to participate in this afternoon is the one our Lord Jesus handed down to us on a Thursday over 2000 years ago.

We Americans then keep a Thursday tradition alive by giving thanks around a feast. I don’t know if those first pilgrims had in mind that Thursday was the day that we should do this in remembrance of our Lord’s celebration or not. I don’t know if they were making this particular connection, but now, as I write this, I can make the connection.

The way to make Thanksgiving more liturgical is the respect and reverence we give to it.  Write a thank you note, make a phone call, send a thank you gift (the stores would like that one). Put some holy work into giving thanks. This simple discipline will be deeply appreciated by you and those to whom thanks is given.  Such giving comes from our Lord Jesus who is the bread of life and will never leave us hungry after having served with him or thirsty after we have come to believe in him.

Let us pray. “Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP p. 246)

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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