By Adam Faughn
When children are little, we do our best to teach them basic manners. One of the most basic is when we tell them to "say their pleases and thank yous." We want to instill in them that a verbal expression of thanks is a sign of respect and means a great deal to the one who hears it.
As we all know, however, thanks can take many forms. Certainly, we should continue to express our thanks in words, but that should not be the only way we express gratitude for what someone has done.
Tomorrow, our nation will say "thank you" to those who have given their lives to defend us and protect the liberties we enjoy. However, since those we are honoring are no longer living, it is impossible for us to vocally tell them "thank you." So, how do we thank them properly? There are a number of ways. Taking time to remember, cleaning a grave, or saying a prayer to God that remembers what has been done on our behalf are just some ways that we say "thank you" without uttering the words to the one we are trying to express gratitude toward.
Today –the Lord's Day –we have an even more important time set aside to do much the same thing. When we eat the Lord's Supper, we do not usually do anything "vocally" other than the one who leads us in prayer. However, those of us who are partaking have an opportunity to express gratitude in more silent ways, but ways that are just as meaningful and heartfelt.
We express our gratitude by partaking faithfully, with our whole heart involved. True obedience to God is a form of gratitude. Taking communion with our mind and heart truly involved thanks Him because it shows we still care deeply about what He did, though so much time has passed
We can express our gratitude through silent prayer. During the moments we are eating the bread or taking the fruit of the vine, there are many things we could be focusing on. One of those, however, could be a time of gratitude. It might be a brief and silent prayer, but what better prayer to have in our minds than, "Father, thank you for what Jesus did for me"! If it comes from the heart, that expresses true thankfulness.
We can express our gratitude through partaking each week. Part of the Lord's Supper's meaning is that it is a proclamation that He is coming again. The Lord instituted this meal as a public "statement" that the promise is still real and still meaningful to us. When we partake every week –week after week –we are showing gratitude for being given the honor of taking part in that proclamation on a regular basis.
Quite often, the man who leads us in the prayers at communion expresses thanks. Such is appropriate, and it helps us have our minds in the right place. But even if that is not expressly stated in the prayer, there are still ways we can show our gratitude as we "eat this bread and drink this cup." Our hearts should be filled with many emotions as we partake, not the least of which should be thankfulness.
So, whether vocally uttered or not, will you show your thanks today as you partake?
- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith.