Using Thanksgiving to Teach Covenant Renewal

The Peace Offering (Lev 7.11-36) of the Old Testament was the only of the five levitical offerings that could be eaten by the laity (the people who weren’t priests).

It was an offering we sometimes call “the Fellowship Offering,” “the Thank Offering,” the “Sacrifice of Thanksgiving” or “the Sacrifice of Praise.”

Look for similarities to our Thanksgiving Day meal, and then we will find the connection to our weekly meal at the Lord’s table in our churches.

– The peace offering was a gift given by a person and was eaten by him.

– It was shared by him, his family, and needy people that were in his community.

– It was eaten in order to give thanks for God’s grace/provisions/blessings/salvation.

It is normal for God’s people who have been saved, to renew the memory and awesome sense of peace with God and neighbor through covenant renewal – celebration of peace / fellowship / thanksgiving.

The Greek word for “fellowship” is koinwnia, which we also translate as COMMUNION.

The Greek word for “thanksgiving” is eucharistia — EUCHARIST.

This is not a surprise, because the Lord’s meal was instituted in the Passover, and the Passover, was the most famous of all Peace Offerings in the Old Testament…. A community sharing offering that was in thankful response to salvation and was eaten by the people, not just the priests.

Thanksgiving – November 27, 2008


3 Responses to Using Thanksgiving to Teach Covenant Renewal

  1. Randall says:

    Since the lord’s Supper represent for us an act of reconciliation, what God did for us through His Son Christ Jesus i wonder to know if there is any possibility for not believers to take part of it. I often celebrate the meal of the Lord with my wife and two children at home. Sometimes, christian friends come during this time and they have participated with us. This Thanksgiveng I will invite two diferent families: one catholic family and one christian family. They have been a very good friends and we want to tell them a special thanks for alll we have received from them in the past. I want to use your artcle “use thanksgiving to tach covenant renewal” and the litany – psalm 136 looking for a close biblical context of that day.

    • saintluke says:

      Hello there,

      The question about the Lord’s supper and non-believer, especially around reconciliation is a good question, and I can see how you got there in your thinking. However, let me share two reasons the bible says that non-believers may not participate in the Lord’s supper.

      1) The bible indicates about the Lord’s supper that it marks out the limits of the body of Christ – all who eat the loaf of bread are part of the loaf of the body of Christ. So only believers may partake in it. (1 Corinthians 10.16-17):

      “16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. ”

      2) Unworthy participation is so dangerous that people die for dishonoring the meal, so people should examine themselves to guard against God’s judgment – not that anyone can come without sin, but we may not come to the meal if we are in open rebellion against God through blatant immorality. God uses the meal for his people to reassure us of pardon for the many sins we commit. But he will not be embarrased through the casual use of it through people known to be in unreconciliation with a brother, or in publicly known sexual sin, or in pagan rituals.

      Non-Christians are not reconciled to God, so it is not a meal that magically makes us reconciled but it is a meal that celebrates the great unity we do already have by faith, and should be preceded by the sign of that reconciliation in the washing of baptism.

      Let me suggest a good reading of 1 Corinthians 10-12 as a way of meditating on the meal and the good questions you are bringing up. Thanks for your writing, and your thoughts.


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