“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,  and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’  In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” (I Corinthians 11:23-25)
While there are some things Christians disagree on concerning the Lord’s Supper we all agree that when he instituted this holy meal, Jesus took time to give thanks. Sometimes the Lord’s Supper is referred to as the Eucharist, the Greek word for giving thanks.
So when our church celebrates the Eucharist we wrap it up in thanksgiving. Before we commune we say: “It is truly good, right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to you, heavenly Father, almighty, everlasting God.”
After we have communed we pray, “We give thanks to you, almighty God that you have refreshed us through this salutary gift.”
Jesus followed the same procedure when he performed one of his greatest miracles, the feeding of the 5,000. He took bread, gave thanks, and gave the bread to his disciples to give to the hungry people. The five loaves that Jesus started with just kept miraculously multiplying until all of the thousands of people had eaten and some was left over. (John 6:5-13)
In addition to the bountiful meal that many of us will be enjoying this Thanksgiving I am thankful that I can also share a blessed, Eucharistic meal with other followers of Jesus at Thanksgiving time and throughout the year.
Although it may seem redundant for Jesus to give thanks since all things in this world come from him and through him, by taking the time to give thanks Jesus reminds us that we all need to give thanks to God for our food and our many other blessings.
Because Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, rose from the dead in victory over death, and nourishes us with the Eucharist all throughout our earthly lives we will someday join in an eternal feast with the Lord and our fellow believers in heaven.
And if you can’t think of prayer to pray before you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast this year the simple words of Psalm 106:1 will work great: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”