An excerpt from the distribution of holy communion during today’s worship service:
Me: The Body of Christ, given for you.
Member: Thank you.
Thank you. What a great response to receiving the great gift of holy communion. In the piety that I learned from my mother and at my childhood congregations, the "appropriate" response to receiving the sacrament was always a firm "Amen." Yet at St John’s by the Gas Station, my internship congregation, I hear many respond with "Thank you" or even "Thanks," a few with "Thanks be to God," and some with the "Amen" to which I am accustomed.
I presume that many of the folks who say "Thank you" were not raised in the same fashion I was raised. Perhaps they were not raised in a liturgical church, or at least not one with a piety that requires a firm "amen" upon receiving the sacrament. Their (perhaps untrained) response of "thank you" speaks to a genuine response of gratitude to receiving a gift, not a learned liturgical refrain prompted by a hymnbook’s rubric.
A piety of gratitude, perhaps, expressed in the ordinary language of our daily lives?