IS THANKSGIVING A RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY?

(The following is reprinted from the Chowan Herald, Nov. 22, 2017)

Thanksgiving Day, a time of celebrating family and food, is a religious occasion only if time is taken to give thanks for the meal and those gathered at the table.

Food is sacred and, whether it’s being shared with family, friends or those in need, should always be blessed.

At the Edenton-Chowan Food Pantry every day is a religious occasion. Every day is Thanksgiving. Here is not just a place where food is handed out to the poor. It is an extension of the church where families come once a month to receive the Eucharist. The food we provide is no less than the very body of Christ.

Serving others is a sacrament, I believe, with our volunteers and supporters becoming priests of the highest order.

Matthew 25:30 – “… for I was hungry and you gave me food …” – is often quoted when serving those in need.

A more appropriate image, especially on Thanksgiving Day, in found in Isaiah and throughout the New Testament where the Kingdom of God is compared to a great banquet with all invited to sit down together at the table of the Lord:

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples … (Isaiah 25:6)

In many religious traditions there are a series of short prayers for things in life often taken for granted.

These are simple prayers – prayers for beginning and ending of each day, prayers for the beauty of flowers, prayers for the very shoes on our feet.

Sometimes called “Beatitudes,” these prayers usually begin with the words, “Thanks be O God” or “Blessed be to the Lord.”

One person has said that to go through even a single day without a word of gratitude, without offering a blessing, is to be like a thief.

May this Thanksgiving Day and every day begin with a blessing – “Thanks be O God for the food we have received.”

 

 

 

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