Jesus instituted his Supper when he took hold of bread and gave thanks. After he broke the bread, distributed it, and everyone ate he also took hold of a cup of wine and gave thanks.
He could have just as easily taken hold of some grains of wheat and a bunch of grapes. But he didn't. He grasped a loaf of bread and a cup of red wine, giving thanks for both.
Bread is the product of human ingenuity and effort. Wine takes even more skill to make. In the Eucharist we don't simply give thanks for raw, unprocessed nature. Rather, we are reminded that both our "daily bread" and the luxury of enjoying good wine both come to us as gifts of God by means of human community.
We include one another – not just raw nature – in our thanksgiving. God doesn’t simply gift us with wheat and grapes. God gifts us with people to grow them, harvest them, store them, sell them to others who then sell them to others who add ingredients, skill, etc. The end result is the tasty bread and satisfying wine for which we bless God.
This thanksgiving thank God for the division of labor and the cooperation of human communities that result in all the useful and luxurious products we enjoy as Americans.
The novus ordo Order includes a prayer of thanks and praise to God for the bread "which earth has given and human hands have made."
I'm giving thanks not only for the human agency through which God supplies me with products, but more importantly for the wonderful people at my church through whom the Lord blesses and nourishes me. Hallelujah!
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