NOVEMBER: It is right to give thanks and praise.
“Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”
“It is right to give our thanks and praise.”
At every service of Holy Communion, pastor and people have this little conversation. Sometimes it’s sung, sometimes it’s spoken – but it’s always there, and has been for a long, long time.
Way back in about the year 350, a pastor in Jerusalem named Cyril offered a series of Lent and Eastertime talks for people who were preparing for baptism or who had just been baptized, describing and explaining what happened when his congregation gathered to worship. (And he wrote them down! Thank you, Cyril!) He included the exact words of that little conversation in his description of worship, so we know that it had already been in use long enough to be a set formula. And, except for translation, the words of this conversation have stayed almost exactly the same ever since.
This conversation about thanking God is what has given the church the name of our service of Holy Communion – Eucharist.
Clearly, giving thanks is central to our worship. Is it central to our lives?
Thankofferings have been central to the life of Women of the ELCA since our founding – and Lutheran women have gathered to make Thankofferings since long before that. Thankofferings are gifts made in gratitude for the blessings that God has so generously poured out upon us – blessings that we could never pay back, but that we can certainly pay forward. Thanks be to God.
Audrey Riley was the former director for stewardship for Women of the ELCA.
This devotion was first published in November 2016.