There are four lectionary readings for Thanksgiving Day. Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Psalm 100, Philippians 4:4-9, and John 6:25-35. Together, the scriptures form a beautiful image of gratitude and joy. As we gather around the table with our families today, I pray that we will take thankful to the next level and remember the Bread of Life and Living Water God sent to a starving and thirsty world. It is far more filling than the best food in this world. The people wanted, and still want, food. Sustenance is essential, but Christ offers something much better.
John 6:35-38 The Message – Eugene Peterson
When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.” To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?” Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.” They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.” They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!” Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
Christ bids those who search for food to seek something better. He knew the importance of being fed and the frustration of being hungry, but He also knew that the Bread of Life and the Living Water He offers give new meaning to hunger and thirst. They take thankful to a level beyond anything I can comprehend on my own. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I can take the Bread of Life and Living Water and share it with others. The more I share, the more I have. True thanksgiving makes me want to make a difference in the lives of others and helps me love in a way that changes everything. I love the wonderful food during the holiday, but I love the fellowship even more. Sharing Christ’s precious love with those in my path is the best of all. It is a feeling much more filling than food.