Last night I began reading Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts. It was recommended to me by a friend from church who thought that I would enjoy reading it. I began reading it while waiting for the teens to come home from their Halloween festivities. So far, only 2 chapters in, I have been challenged and enlightened on something that has become so familiar and by extension rote. That something is the sacramental rite of the “Lord’s Supper” (as I grew up knowing it as) or the “Eucharist”.
Jesus, Himself, gave thanks before breaking the bread and giving it to His disciples. That phrase, to me always translated in head, as “Jesus prayed over the meal and passed it out”. Though that may be a part of it, it translates into something so much more.
I’m not a theologian, but I’ll give my best translation from what I understood from Ms Voskamp. “He gave thanks” in the original text reads “eucharisteo“. The root of that word is “charis” which means grace. So, so far the saying of “grace” over a meal works right? But the Greek word for “joy” is the word “chara” which also shares the same derivative. Thanksgiving, grace, joy – a 3 stranded cord that embodies, perhaps, the true meaning of the Eucharist.
“Facing the abadonment of God Himself, Jesus offers thankgiving for even that which will break Him and crush Him and woulnd Him and yield a bounty of joy (chara).” (1)
Think on that. Let that sink in. In the face of everything that He was to endure, He gave thanks, He walked in grace, He saw the joy on the other side. Would we do the same? Are we, even now, trying to walk that out? to emulate it?
In the hard places it is so hard to practice being thankful, hard to extend grace, and even harder to find joy. Yet, if we but try, if we but practice them, even in small ways, God can and will show up mightily to show you the fullest extent of the salvation, the “sozo”, that was offered so freely.
So in the spirit of this I am once again offering a small list of things that I am giving thanks for, that I find/found joy in this week, and working on extending grace to and through.
This week I am thankful for (in no particular order):
1. Drivers who turn on their car’s lights while driving in the dim light and the wet haze that is Autumn in the Lower Mainland. Please, for all that is holy and sacred about life, DO NOT rely on your day-time running lights to make you visible.
2. Halloween is done (& hopefully so are the firecrackers)
3. Youth leaders who speak life into my teens, and to whom my teens listen
4. The ‘Saints’ in my life whose breath speaks of the sacred and causes me to look at the familiar with fresh eyes.
5. Toilets. Too many times this week found myself nearly crippled by the time I got home. (note to self: use the facilities BEFORE you leave the office)
6. The glory of Fall. Even now, with grey skies and copious amounts of precipitation, it shines through with golds, reds and the ethereal beauty of leafless trees.
7. The example of Jesus, who despite knowing what He was going to face on the cross, still gave thanks to His Father inspite of it.
8. To be able to sit through yet another high school music concert tonight; to suport my daughter, our intrepid trumpeter.
9. The ability to send my hubby off to work with a smile, a kiss, and a hug; this is something that only happens occasionally due to his work scheduling so I treasure it when it does happen.
10. Daylight Savings Time (it’s this weekend folks). That one extra hour of sleep is going to feel so, so sweet.
(1) Ann Voskamp; One thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully right Where You Are; (Zondervan Publishing) pg 35