By Pastor Wayne Zschech
Thanksgiving is a day for many things. Football for some. Parades for others. Family and feasting for just about everyone as we gather around a table to give thanks for the blessings in our lives. The meal is more than take-out or quick recipe options we create during the regular week. It’s a day we pull out the recipe box and recreate dishes that have been cooked, baked, and roasted for generations and share stories of the lives who made them before us; great-grandma, nana, pop-pop and mom. Thanksgiving is a day of feasting and storytelling and remembering God’s goodness in our lives over the last year.
Did you know that every Sunday when we gather for worship we gather for Thanksgiving as well? That’s what the Eucharist, Holy Communion, is. It literally means “thanksgiving.” And when we gather for worship, we are feasting not only on the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sin and new life, but also feasting on God’s word proclaimed in Scripture, sermon, and congregational song. We digest God’s word of love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and hope as the stories of previous generations of God’s people are read from Scripture and how our stories echo theirs in the sermon. The songs and hymns we sing are the stories of God’s engagement with God’s people of Israel and the body of Christ, the Church, throughout the ages and even now in our time. Every time we worship, we feast on God’s Word and grace offered in Scripture, sermon, sacrament, and song.
But what if one cannot join in the feast? How is your faith relationship with God in Christ fed if you aren’t able to gather for worship? Have some found themselves out of the habit of “dining” at the Lord’s Table on Sunday? If so, how is your faith being fed? Maybe the daily devotionals in the Christ In Our Home booklet are “snack” to tide one over, but are they the feast God prepares for us each week through His Church, the people of God gathered around pulpit, font, and table where grace and new life is offered and received?
I can’t eat a Thanksgiving feast every evening, but without regular healthy meals each day my physical health is compromised. I feel the same way when it comes to worship. Not every Sunday can be Christmas or Easter, with all its special anthems, hymns, and pageantry. But each Sunday is a Thanksgiving where we get to feast on God’s Word regularly without getting too “stuffed.” In worship I am drawn close to God through his word and sacrament and by the mutual conversation and consolation of the saints as well. I look forward to dining with you this month and in the months ahead. I am so Thankful to serve as your pastor and for the blessing we are to and for each other. Happy Thanksgiving.