Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church

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Clergy Corner

Let Us Give Thanks

  • The Rev. Dr. Bill Murray
  • Nov 14, 2018
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About twenty years ago, when I was a youth minister, I had a practice of asking trivia questions. Something about random facts and tidbits of information always kept the kids involved. I was usually stalling for time. Often, I would ask a question and the first person to answer would get to go to lunch or go to free time. On one such occasion, I asked the youth gathered, “What does the word ‘Eucharist’ mean?”

One hand and one hand only shot up. He was a brilliant young man who is now a professor at an ivy league school. He ran up to the microphone to share his definition. “‘Eucharist’ is Latin for womb.” I have forgotten almost all of my 8th grade Latin but I suddenly knew what he was saying. My response was pithy and has become legendary, “No. That word is ‘uterus’.”

Eucharist is a Greek word that we throw around a great deal in the church. It means “Great Thanksgiving.” When we gather in prayer every week, we are supposed to come counting all the gifts God has given us. We are supposed to work to appreciate how filled with grace our lives truly are. We are supposed to enter worship with a heart filled, even in the hardest of times, with a feeling of blessedness. Thomas Cranmer, author of the first book of common prayer, believed our worship was and is “our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.”

We have precious little to offer to God other than praise for the gifts of life. As a country we give some time to the idea. As a Christian, we are called to do it weekly in worship and daily in prayer. I am thankful to be at Holy Innocents’. I am grateful to be in a community that just put on the whole hog for the Presiding Bishop – and did it with style and grace and joy. I am filled with gratitude that God has led us to share this road together. I am thankful that my Latin kicked in all those years ago.

That is just the start of a long list of things for which I am grateful. I invite you all to not just give thanks for the gifts of this life- but to tell those folks near you as well. Thank family, share your gratitude to your friends, and, yes, give thanks to God. Let us give thanks everyday. And come on Sunday and share with one another in our Great Thanksgiving to God!