Thursday, December 29, 2011

Eucharisteo, Grace, Thanksgiving and Joy

As I begin this blog I am overwhelmed with tears both of sorrow for a young friend who just lost her dad and tears of joy for another dear friend who after many years of trying just found out she is pregnant.   Both situations are celebrations of life.   One just beginning and one coming to an end.   What does all of this mean?  Life is full of both joy and sorrow we are promised this and see it played out in Scripture time and time again.

Thanksgiving- Eucharisteo- giving thanks in everything with Grace and Joy.   This seems easy to do with the friend that just found out she is expecting, yet terribly difficult with the one whose loss is so profound.  Eucharist is a word I've always heard and associated with communion or the Lord's Supper.  Yet this word as I've been reading and seeing it in Scripture is transforming my life. This is an excerpt from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp where she defines the idea well.   "Thanksgiving- giving thanks in everything- prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ.  The act of sacrificing thank offerings to God - even for the bread and cup of cost, for cancer and crucifixion- this prepares the way for God to show us His fullest salvation from bitter, angry, resentful lives and from all sin that estranges us from Him.  At the Eucharist, Christ breaks His heart to heal ours- Christ, the complete accomplishment of our salvation.  And the miracle of eucharisteo never ends; thanksgiving is what precedes the miracle of that salvation being fully worked out in our lies.   Thanksgiving- giving thanks in everything- is what prepares the way for salvation's whole restoration.  Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks."

On Christmas Eve I experienced one of God's miracles.   I was driving down icy, snowy roads near my parents house in Colorado going to meet a friend for coffee.   It was early in the morning so as I was driving I was still thinking about the passages of scripture I had read that morning and the quote above about thanksgiving.   I was listing off in my mind some of the things I was thankful for in kind of a prayer to God.   Thank you for the glistening snowflakes in the morning sun, the opportunity to spend Christmas with my family this year, safe travels out to Colorado and so on.   As I was rounding a corner my car slid on the ice I tried to redirect the car but couldn't.  I kept sliding right off the road over an embankment and down a hill until the car stopped right next to a big bush.   While sliding down the hill I prayed for safety.   Once the car slid to a stop the first words out of my mouth were, "Thank you Lord for keeping me safe."  

The car at the bottom of the hill
As I crawled out of the passenger door and evaluated the situation again words of thanks rolled out of my mouth.  "Thank you that the car doesn't look too damaged and that we have good insurance that will cover a tow truck to get me out of here.  Also that my Dad and Marilyn live so close and can come and get me."  After a few quick phone calls and a few friendly neighbors stopping by to make sure everyone was all right we had the car back up on the road.   The tow truck driver said it was remarkable that there was no damage to the wheels or front end  considering how far I slid down the hill.   I told him the only explanation was the grace of God.   He just smiled and said that I was lucky.