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Maundy Thursday, April 2, 2015

Today’s Reading | Mark 14:12–25

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (NRSV)

When was the last time that you sat down and shared a meal with someone else? Some of us may be in the habit of doing this regularly; others may struggle to find the time amidst meetings, practices, and busy schedules. In a world that feels increasingly stretched and on-the-go, my hunch is that most of us fall into the latter category—opportunity to sit down and share a meal amongst family or friends feels like a true luxury. And so we are grateful for Jesus’ invitation to the table on Maundy Thursday—an invitation that asks us to pause, to gather, and to share with one another.

The sharing of the Passover meal was (and still is) a vital part of Jewish religious practice—both a celebration and reminder of God’s presence in the exodus from Egypt. In this meal that Jesus instituted—a simple meal of bread and wine—God’s continued presence with us is promised through a new covenant. We may be near the end of Jesus’ earthly life in our liturgical year, but there is something bold, a new beginning, for those who trust in him. In sharing this meal, we believe that God’s love and grace are being made manifest—a promise of communion with Christ and one another.

As we share bread and cup today with one another, may that promise sustain us not just through the events of Good Friday, but every day of our lives.

Lord, I am grateful for the table that you have prepared before me—a place where the lost find welcome, the hurt find comfort, and the tired find rest. Help me to share the promise of this table through all that I do. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families

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