Thursday, November 24, 2016

Eucharist, Giving Thanks for the Good Gift

Alexander Coosemans
The word, eucharist is derived from the Greek eu-meaning “well” or “good” and charisomai, meaning “to grant or give.” Eucharist literally means, “good gift.” In the Christian tradition, the eucharist celebrates our intimacy with Jesus, as we symbolically assume his person, his character in body and in blood. The potential to be Jesus-like or Christ-like is God’s good gift to the world.

The ceremony of eucharist or thanksgiving long preceded Christianity. The Hebrew verb “barak” is used to express thanksgiving to God for being held in God’s provision and grace. When the ancient Israelite warriors and providers returned from long absences from home, a community dinner, complete with sacrificial lamb, was prepared to celebrate their safe return. Barak was offered as a blessing before the meal. This became the tradition of the Jewish Passover meal; the meal that commemorated freedom from hardship and safe keeping in community. This was the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples the night that he was arrested, at which he offered barak/thanksgiving and radically, assumed the role of the sacrifice – the good gift.

Gratitude is the ascending reflection of descending grace."~ Beverly Novak

Assuming a thankful state of mind and heart creates within us, a space, like a cornucopia or a chalice, to be filled with the goodness of Life, the grace of God. Often, to create ourselves as a receptacle of grace requires the "sacrifice" of our personal time, money, need and/or certainty of thought. Gratitude is a receptive posture, a mindful way of opening to our place in a larger story and feeling blessed just to be alive where we are. One comes into full Presence in gratefulness, with all the best of who she is eclipsing defenses, resentments and fears that can keep her from being her true, loving self.

May you be ever open to the glory of your most expansive being. May the cornucopia of your heart stand ready to be filled with the good graces of the universe, the fruits of the spirit. May worries and old defenses give way to love and forgiveness as you offer barak, “a blessing” for the eucharist, the “good gift,” of this perfect day.

Thanksgiving Blessings!

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

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