Communion: Give thanks

For the last several Sundays, I’ve been attending a new church. I’ve been part of a small group in some friends’ home for the last two years and over the summer, they took a much-needed break. The leaders began the group again, but this time on Saturday nights, which doesn’t work with my schedule since Saturday is my only “official” day off work in my speaking/writing business.

I decided to start attending a local traditional church on Sunday mornings, because one thing Ray hates for me to spend his hard-working money on is gas, driving to churches an hour away!

Communion bread and wine
Communion bread & wine
Resource: Pinterest

This morning the church had communion. I’ve always loved communion. There is something so holy and special about taking the bread and the wine (in this church’s case grape juice!), representing the precious body and blood of Christ.  

This is done in remembrance of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-25; cf. Luke 22:18-20 and Matthew 26:26-28).

Roman Catholics consider the “Eucharist” (communion) the highlight of their Mass, the highest and most important form of prayer. The Mass is divided into two sections, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. They believe it actually turns into the body and blood of Jesus–called “transubstantiation.” (I don’t personally believe this, but many practicing Catholics do.)

For the Jew, bread was equated with the Torah, eating and understanding of the covenant of God. (cf. Deuteronomy 8:3).

The word “Eucharist” comes from:

  • the Greek eukharistia “thanksgiving, gratitude;” later “the Lord’s Supper”;
  • from eukharistos “grateful”;
  • from eu “well” + stem of kharizesthai “show favor”;
  • from kharis “favor, grace.”
Jesus on the cross
Jesus on the cross

To give thanksgiving; to be grateful; to show favor. When we take the Eucharist, this communion wafer or bread, this red wine or Welch’s grape juice, we give thanks and are grateful, we worship God, and remember what Jesus so selflessly did for us. To save us from this wretched body of sin and make us holy and right with God, so we can live with God for eternity in heaven. 

He died so we could live. 

One Thousand Gifts

Author and Speaker Ann VosKamp writes in her book One Thousand Gifts: “Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.”

It’s easy to be thankful in the good times, the blessed times. But what about the bad?

My precious sis Maria
My precious sis Maria

Last night I had a dream about me and my sister Maria. She and I were both afraid and angry about something. We went into this place that was pitch black, where God was. I sensed His holy presence there and felt the fear of the Lord, the kind that caused prophets and priests to fall flat on their faces before Him. He spoke to me in the dream and said, “Give your anger and fear to Me.”

When I texted my sister the dream today, she asked, “Why was it pitch black?” I explained that in the Bible, God is sometimes described as being surrounded by darkness: Deuteronomy 5:22, Exodus 20:21, and Psalm 97:2. He is a dark mystery we can’t see, and must search for. 

In the darkest night, God’s light and glory shines the most, and we can still give thanks for who He is, no matter the outcome.

Ann writes in One Thousand Gifts: “It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us…”

Christ is most present to us, always. You are not alone. Give thanks. Remember what Jesus did.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving, my Canadian friends

Today is Day 13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Today, October 13, is also Canada’s Thanksgiving Day. I want to wish my dear Canadian friends a very happy Thanksgiving, especially Doreen Penner, Karen Wells, Helen Reimer, and Lynette Boudreaux.

Karen Wells, Doreen Penner, Beth Jones
Karen Wells, Doreen Penner, Beth Jones
Keynote Speakers, Walk Into Your Blessing Conference
Mitchelle, Manitoba, Canada
My friend Helen Reimer
My friend Helen Reimer
Lynette  Boudreaux and Karen Wells
Lynette Boudreaux and Karen Wells

I didn’t know it was Canada’s Thanksgiving Day, but today this is what I posted on my Facebook business page:

“Heard the raindrops on the patio outside and felt the rain on my face today. See the leaves turning beautiful colors. Cooler sweater weather. Enjoying God’s creation. Thankful to be alive. Lead my steps today, Jesus.”

fall leaves
fall leaves

Canada was the first country to celebrate Thanksgiving. It was proclaimed a national holiday in 1879. Parliament called it “a day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.”

It falls on the second Monday in October. Canada is further north than the U.S., so the harvest season is earlier in Canada. (Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/canadian-thanksgiving-2014-3-ways-holiday-differs-americas-turkey-day-1703250)

When French settlers arrived in Canada, explorer Samuel de Champlain established a thanksgiving feast, drawing upon the traditions of First Nations tribes and earlier explorers. He called the event “The Order of Good Cheer.” (Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/canadian-thanksgiving-2014-3-ways-holiday-differs-americas-turkey-day-1703250)

http://www.promopro.com/shopping-tips/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Five-Best-Thanksgiving-Apps-for-Your-Perfect-Holiday-Meal.jpg
www.promopro.com/shopping-tips/Five-Best-Thanksgiving-Apps-for-Your-Perfect-Holiday-Meal.jpg

It was first celebrated by the arctic explorer Martin Frobisher in 1578, more than 40 years before the Pilgrims arrived in America.

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving a lot like America does, with turkey, football, and family time. But they don’t see it as a kickoff to Christmas shopping. I like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. Let’s just savor this present moment, shall we?(Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/canadian-thanksgiving-2014-3-ways-holiday-differs-americas-turkey-day-1703250)

My Canadian friends, enjoy your holiday! God’s many blessings on you and Canada. I love you!

If you are Canadian, please share what you typically do to celebrate your Thanksgiving. What’s your favorite foods for the meal? What activities do you enjoy with family and friends? What traditions do you celebrate as part of this day of Thanksgiving? Leave your comments below.

 

 

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Icing on the cake

Today is Day 11 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

The suggested topic for blogging, take it or leave it, was dessert time: What’s the best dessert you’ve ever eaten?

OR, you can go for an allegory and talk about what the “icing on the cake” is for you in a particular experience.

Beth & Ray Jones
me & my husband Ray Jones
418556_10150612901424123_1424092092_n
Our 3 beautiful daughters Heather, Eden, & Leah
Our 3 precious grandchildren, Jacob, Annabelle & Violet
Our 3 precious grandchildren, Jacob, Annabelle & Violet

For me, my husband Ray is the yellow cake and our 3 beautiful daughters Heather, Eden, and Leah are the chocolate frosting. Our 3 precious grandchildren are the colorful sprinkles and flower decorations on top. God is all the ingredients going into that wonderful cake.

Is that too ridiculous? But so true. I love my family and am so thankful to God for them. And I LOVE yellow cake with chocolate frosting ~ it’s my fave!

What is your favorite dessert?

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting www.bakingthroughmsbh.files.wordpress.com-2010-03-slice1
Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
www.bakingthroughmsbh.files.wordpress.com-2010-03-slice1

 

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