Summary: 3rd in a series of sermons on Thankfulness - Thanksgiving. This sermon centers on being thankful for God's Gift of Eucharist and what it means to share this gift with God and with one another.
Theme: Thanksgiving - For Eucharist
Proposition: 3rd in a series of sermons on Thankfulness - Thanksgiving. This sermon centers on being thankful for God's Gift of Eucharist and what it means to share this gift with God and with one another.
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ, Our Savior and LORD!
I believe that our English language is amazing. Each year we seem to add hundreds of new words/phrases that are designed to replace old words/phrases. For example here are a few new words or ideas that are to being used in place of ones that some people feel have lived out their usefulness:
+We use to say that when people suddenly had an idea they were experiencing an "AHA Moment". That is now old fashioned and should be discarded. The new phrase you are suppose to us is that people are experiencing or have experienced a "Light Bulb Moment".
+We use to promote the word teamwork. "Teamwork" meant that a group of people from different areas of a company were purposely working together to accomplish a goal or a realize a vision. Well, the term teamwork is on its way out. Now working together is to be called - "cross functional capability".
+And when someone doesn't believe you or the facts that they see in front of them we are not to just think that they are crazy. We have a new term to describe them. That new term is the word - "denialist". They are not crazy they are being a "denialist".
Sometimes, I wonder if somewhere in the world there is a group of people who sit around just thinking of new terms to use so that they can impress others. However, when you think about it even in the church we have over time used a great many words to describe the same thing. It all depends on whether you were raised in what would be called "high church", "common church" or "low church".
+What do you call the place where the pastor lives?
-Parsonage, manse, rectory or vicarage?
+What do you call the space just outside of the sanctuary where people gather together?
-Foyer, Narthex, Vestibule or Lobby?
+What do you call the person who is called to share Word and Sacrament in your church?
-Clergy person, Reverend, Priest, Pastor, Shepherd or Preacher?
And as we look at the sacrament at the front of our sanctuary this morning, what normally do you call it?
Is it the Last Supper? Is it the Lord's Supper? Is it "THE MEAL"?
Is it " Holy Communion"? Is it "The Table"? Is it "The Breaking of Bread"
Or is it the term that I would like for us to look at this morning - EUCHARIST?
Actually, it is all of them. All of them are the terms that are most commonly used by those in the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church and the Church of the Nazarene. Throughout history the sacrament that Jesus gave to us immediately before His arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection has been called by a number of different names. Some have even used the term "FIRST SUPPER" referring to the fact that Jesus instituted a new meal to replace the Passover Meal.
In our tradition we don't use the term "Eucharist" very much. It's a term that is alluded to in scripture but didn't gain momentum until around the end of the 1st century ( The Didache). It is a term that ancient Early Church Fathers Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr used. It originates from the Greek word meaning "THANKGIVING". We see it when the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth about the Lord's Supper.
"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 (eucharisteo) he broke it, and said, 'This is My Body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." (1 Corinthians 11:23 - 24).
This month we have been looking at things we can celebrate with thanksgiving. We have looked at the gifts of both FRIENDSHIP and CREATION. Both of those things are God's Gifts to all of us. We are to give thanks for our friends and we are to give thanks for this Good Earth that the LORD has given to all of us.
This morning, I would like for us to take a few moments to look at this sacrament - this "Lord's Supper", "Holy Communion" or "Eucharist" and reflect on its true meaning and how we are to rejoice and be thankful for it.
I. Eucharist is A Sacrament