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East Harwich, MA 02645
A Message from Pastor John
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. …and he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:17, 19)
Let’s not read that too quickly. If you must, read it a second time.
Jesus is in Jerusalem. The city is overcrowded for the Passover celebration. He’s gathered his disciples together. They’re having a final meal together. He will soon be betrayed. Abandoned. Mocked. Spat upon. Beaten. Tried before a kangaroo court. His own people will shout out “crucify him!”
He’ll be convicted. The sentence is execution. He’ll soon carry a heavy, wooden cross and then be nailed to it. Upon that cross he’ll carry the weight of the world’s sin. He’ll soon offer up his last breath. He’ll soon die. For you. And for me. And for the whole world.
He’ll soon be undergoing all of this… and he knows it’s coming.
But notice what Jesus does next.
He holds in his hands the bread, which signifies his body about to be broken, lifts it up… and he gives thanks. He holds in his hands the cup, which signifies the blood he is about to shed, lifts it up … and he gives thanks.
Twice in a moment, Jesus gives thanks. Jesus looks at these elements that signify for all the suffering and death he is about to undergo… and he gives thanks.
How do we respond to this? How do we respond to him? Let’s look to Jesus, and give him thanks … no matter what we are about to face.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Ps. 136:1)
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:3)
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:18)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:15-17)
This Thanksgiving Day approaches, may our focus extend beyond the turkey and mashed potatoes and turnips, beyond our Pilgrim and Wampanoag forebears… and all the joys and sorrows they embodies… as worthy and meaningful as that focus may be. Let us be thankful for the depth of God’s love… a gift expressed through Christ’s loving, self-sacrifice that enables us to know the fullness of life everlasting. Let us also be thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth and assures of God’s unending, unfailing love for us.