The late great Orthodox liturgist Alexander Schmemann felt that the meaning of “thanksgiving” the literal translation of the Greek word Eucharist had been lost on modern people. We tend to limit giving thanks for the what we perceives as the good things that we receive. But Schmemann argues that for the early church “giving thanks” was something the Christian did because the Kingdom of God had been restored in Jesus Christ. Our very inclusion in Christ is reason enough to give thanks, that God has spoken to us in the Word is another reason to give thanks, that Christ has saved us and shares His Body an Blood with us is another reason to give thanks, and finally that Christ has given us a mission is also a reason to give him thanks! You will recognize that at each of those points in the celebration of the Eucharist we express our thanks either as a congregation when we say, "Thanks be to God" or through the presider when he says to God, "We give you thanks…"!
Because of what Christ has done we now have a vantage point in life that those who live in the world do not. The liturgy is a mystery of light, we are on the mountain and know that Christ rises from the dead—that he is victorious over our enemies. Therefore we can as St. Paul tells the Thessalonians, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
From How to Get the Most out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel.
How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist gives you nine concrete steps to help you join your own sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ as you:
- Serve: Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.
- Adore: Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.
- Confess: Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.
- Respond" Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.
- Incline: Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.
- Fast: Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.
- Invite: Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.
- Commune: Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
- Evangelize :Take him and share the Lord with others.