One Thousand Gifts – a book review chapter 2

Title: a word to live…and die by

Eucharist (thanksgiving) is the state of the perfect man.  Eucharist is the life of paradise.  Eucharist is the only full and real response of man to God’s creation, redemption, and gift of heaven.  ~Alexander Schmemann


But this morning, I wake wildly wanting to live…I really want to really live.

I have woken with this same desire.  I don’t want to “make it through” the day or “survive”; I want to LIVE this day! I have talked with family members and friends and acquaintances who just want to get through without losing it or doing something “stupid”.  I have hurt over those I know who have had to turn to alternatives in order to live another day without crying for hours on end.  I have prayed for those who wished they could die because getting out of bed and facing reality was just too much.  So I reach…I reach for myself…I reach for them…I reach for life.

How to live the fullest life here that delivers into the full life ever after? … Will I have lived fully – or just empty?  How does one live ready, and always? … I have to wonder: more time for more of what? … How do we live fully so we are fully ready to die?

“More time for more of what?”  Yes!  Ann V’s sister has told her over and over again, “Life is not an emergency!”  I repeat that to myself as I begin to fret over toy-scattered floors, piled up counter tops, full sinks, dirt-covered floors, unmade beds, dinner menus not even thought of.  Are those the issues of life that are  really worth a racing heart, a red face, a rising blood pressure, a tantrum?  What do I really want more time for?  Could I begin by being a better steward of the 24 hours a day God has already given?  Could I live in this moment, thank in this moment, love in this moment, thereby making the most of every moment?  Then before I know it, could I lay down at night really knowing the value of all those moments, minutes, and hours?

All my eyes can seem to fixate on are the splatters of disappointment across here and me…I don’t need more time to breathe so that I may experience more locales (the scene of any event or action), possess more, accomplish more.

Is the height of my chara (joy) dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo (thanks)? … As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible…The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.


“Open the eyes of my heart LORD, I want to see you!”  I want to see the things of God, know the ways of God, hear the Words of God, feel the love of God. 

…gave thanks…and then the miracle…

This is the anthem of the book…thanks precedes the miracle.  Jesus gave thanks for the loaves; then the miracle of more than enough.  The Gentile leper comes back to Jesus and thanks Him for the physical healing; then the miracle of complete, soul healing.  Jesus gives thanks before a 4 day old tomb; then the miracle of a risen dead man.  Jesus gives thanks in the upper room on the night of His betrayal, and the miracles have not ceased from that prayer!  I get shaken by the  craziness of a day with no consistency…I gives thanks for the pig-tails on “Grace” girl’s head and little boys’ laughter…then the miracle of peace, rest, and a smile.  I begin to get upset at something that he said…I give thanks for him, his love, and his willingness to listen to me…then the miracle of a sweet evening with him.  Thanks always precedes the miracle!

Might a life of eucharisteo really work the miracle of the God-communion?

The past few months have almost felt like an outer-body experience.  I still feel the newness of it; this thanks-giving life.  To actually never cease to pray because I can never cease to thank.  To commune with the Creator of heaven and earth, of galaxies and blades of grass that I used to pull apart in my Memaw’s back yard, it is amazing, awe-some, overwhelming!  It is more…it is full!

(About taking Communion)  In a very tangible, physical act, aren’t I enacting my thanksgiving for His pain?  In a very real way, in a digestible, consuming-oneness way, I’m celebrating greater gain through great loss.

May I never take the “bread and wine” as just emblems.  They are not.  They are more.  They are my remembrance; my thanks.  Would a casual thanks to a Holy God ever make sense?

Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives…I would never experience the fullness of my salvation until I express the fullness of my thanks every day, and eucharisteo is elemental to living the saved life.

The day of my salvation wasn’t just the day when my old life was buried with Him; it was the day of “new life”, “resurrection”.  But a new life in Him on this earth doesn’t just mean rising once; it is a repeated action.  I rise day after day…why?  To survive?  to make it through?  Or do I rise and sing?  Do I wake early and say “This is the day the LORD has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!”?  Do I begin with a prayer of thanksgiving…and then…watch for the miracle?

Thanksgiving…ALWAYS…precedes…THE MIRACLE!