The Sacrament of Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is a bit of a curiosity for me. I am thoughtful about it’s attractive power. It’s not a Christian holiday, it’s a national one. Yet it is filled with theological goodness as we reflect on the many instances of our blessedness. There are the common blessings of a sunny day, the crackle of a fire, a conversation with a friend, a warm casserole of mac and cheese, a game of dominoes after a sumptuous meal. Yet each of these blessings can easily become sacramental, a means by which God touches us with grace and we become more aware of our blessedness. It is transformed into a special blessing. Many people in the United States have a tradition of where they will share a meal on this day. Others will search someone out to share the blessing, a good friend or a stranger, a waitress at the counter of the local diner, with whom to partake in the grace of God’s provision.

Church historian and liturgist Alexnder Schmemann writes in For the Life of the World (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1970), “A meal is still a rite–the last ‘natural sacrament’ of family and friendship, of life that is more than ‘eating’ and ‘drinking.’ To eat is still something more than to maintain bodily functions. People may not understand what that ‘something more’ is, but they nonetheless desire to celebrate it. They are still hungry and thirsty for sacramental life.”

As we gather at tables today (or on another day if that is your experience) we revel in the grace of the blessings God bestows, not out of obligation, but rather because of God’s aggressively active desire for his beloved creation. God simply wants to bless us and hopes we will take notice so we will complete the circle of blessing.

I have taken notice. My life abounds with the goodness of the Lord. As I sit here on this Thanksgiving morning and look into the treasure trove of my heart, I am thankful for each of you who have been the source of many blessings that the Lord has shared. I am deeply grateful that God led me to Seaview and to you. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Pastor Frank