It is the Cup of Thanksgiving

During a traditional Jewish Seder, there are four cups of wine that are drunk during the dinner. The fourth cup is part of the closing ritual, which includes a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. Many scripture scholars believe that Jesus used this cup to be the “cup of the new and eternal covenant.” He took the cup of thanksgiving and transformed it into the cup of his precious blood. It is still a cup of thanksgiving, but it is so much more than that for us who are being saved by it.

There are so many things for which to be thankful. When I was a seminarian, one of my directors would often say, “We need to have an attitude of gratitude.” We always laughed at his pronunciation of both word -he pronounced the second syllable of each word “tee.” Of course, he was right. When we have an attitude of gratitude, we can’t help but be filled with joy.

The cup of thanksgiving reminds us to have such an attitude directed toward God for all that God has done for us. Several of the psalms remind us of the same thing. They call on the people of God to always be thankful.

Since the early days of the Church, what we do when we take up the cup of thanksgiving with our fellow Christians in memory of Jesus has been called eucharistos – the Greek word for thanksgiving. As Christians, the Eucharist is and always has been a thanksgiving dinner, a thanksgiving sacrifice offered to our God. The bread we break and the wine we share are our thanksgiving meal. The Body and Blood of Christ are our thanksgiving sacrifice.

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