Thanks

11/27/03

You can read in the papers and magazines editorials on Thanksgiving that are more profound than anything I can put together for you. So I would like you to humor me for a moment and just as we do at The Peace I would like you to shake the hand of another person here and say, “Thank you for coming.”

I know that is hokey but you see, Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in the midst of them.” Your coming, gathered here together, makes it possible for Jesus to be in the midst of us. It is appropriate that we thank one another for making the presence of Christ be here and in our lives.

Of course we dont do this, this saying thank you, very often. To say “Thank you” can seem artificial or unnecessary. But have you ever noticed how you respond when you have completed a task and someone comes in and says “thank you.” It is a way of affirming and blessings, and to be affirmed and blessed is as essential to our growth, development and life as is mother’s milk.

I gave Last Rites to a dying woman yesterday, and as I left she said, “Thank you.” She acknowledged the worth of what had happened, the importance of prayer and preparation, of compassion and hope. She affirmed and blessed me! Such irony. I nearly brushed off her thanks, as we often do when embarrassed by the poignancy of something, or in false modesty. It is so hard to say “You are welcome” and make it sound right. I took her hand and said, “It is a privilege. Thank you for allowing me to be with you.”

In a moment we will celebrate the Eucharist, which is called “The Great Thanksgiving.” We are affirming that Christ is in our midst and that He is in the bread and wine and that “He will dwell in us as we in Him.” We have much to be thankful for in our secular and natural lives. Our parents, freedom, loved ones, health, shelter, food - you can make a list better than I. But what keeps us focused, what keeps us traveling in the right direction, what gives structure to our lives is our life in the Church, our life in the body of Christ - be it subtle or more dramatic. From the sacraments and from the prayers and from the teachings and from the scriptures our lives are marked and changed. We acknowledge that God loves us personally and incredibly - that we have been given many gifts, but the gift of His Son is beyond superlatives.

Today, let us give thanks as the Pilgrims did years ago, but let us give thanks most of all for the presence of Christ, through the Holy spirit, in our lives. When you leave here, remember that “it is a good thing to give thanks and praise,” as the Prayer Book says. It is a good thing to give thanks and praise not only to God - but to others as well. Amen.