Most of us begin the Thanksgiving meal by saying grace. It is a simple prayer to give thanks to the Lord God for the blessings bestowed on us.
We thank God for our health. We thank God for bringing family and friends together. And we thank God for the wonderful spread of food on the table. After all, the Lord God is the source of all these blessings and the giver of all goods.
But should blessings end there?
As celebrity chef Emeril always says, let’s “kick it up a notch.” How do we kick Thanksgiving up another notch? How do we elevate our giving thanks to God to reach a new intensity?
The clue to this challenge is given in the Gospels when the Lord asks some of his disciples to find a room in which they could all share supper together. He specifically informs them to locate a man, a water bearer, and follow him up to a “second floor” room.
This has a wonderful symbolic meaning. It signifies that the type of supper that the Lord had in mind necessitated that they raise their minds to a higher cognitive level.
Why would this be?
Because, God was trying to ultimately serve them a spiritual banquet, as well. In fact, the Lord wants to share His Truth and Goodness with all of us. This is what is signified when we grasp the sacred ritual of the Lord sharing His “blood” and “flesh” with the disciples from a higher level. Wine could only represent His “blood” if it was symbolic of divine truth, and bread could only represent His “flesh” if it was symbolic of divine goodness or spiritual love.
Truth and goodness are spiritual blessings rather than material blessings.
Sacred Ritual always points to higher spiritual things. They are signs that physical things are used to convey higher, spiritual meaning. This is similar to the ritual of Baptism, where water is used to remind us that we need to cleanse our spirit and inner reality.
The Last Supper also serves as a sign to remind us of higher realities. The soul has an appetite for God’s goodness and thirsts for God’s truth. Goodness and truth are real spiritual nourishment for the soul and are needed for maintaining the proper health of our deeper, spiritual life.
Should we not also be thankful to the Lord for making Himself known to us and giving us the proper spiritual values and tenets for living a life of love to the neighbor? What is there more to be thankful for than to share the gifts and treasures of true love?
So, this year when you sit down at the Thanksgiving table, say grace from an “upper” room. In fact, why not do it every day!