The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
(I Corinthians 11:23-26)
Late afternoon shadows move across the living room walls as I write this article. As the sun lowers in the southwestern sky, my thoughts linger on the meaning of this holy day—an annual remembrance of our Lord’s last earthly supper with his beloved disciples before his arrest, sham of a trial, and horrific crucifixion. It is Maundy Thursday, 2021.
Maundy Thursday: a yearly commemoration of an ordinary event that occurred long ago. A Passover meal held in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem as the sun set beyond the city walls. A group of women and men—just regular folk—relaxing on the floor around plates of savory food while sharing in conversation about their day. Seated in the midst of this group an ordinary-looking man—the host--with an extraordinary mission that, in a matter of hours, would change the world forever.
An ordinary group of people with their leader as host, sharing in a special meal. Last Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020, I joined my parishioners at Glenwood United Parish in this special meal, with Christ as the host. The pandemic shutting down in-person worship could not keep us from commemorating that last earthly meal Jesus had with his disciples. We still gathered together and remembered the story as we shared the bread and the cup virtually. A couple present at the meal that evening are now part of the ‘heavenly host,’ thanks to COVID. I now remember them whenever I gather with my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ at SUMC to share of the bread and cup. Just as I always remember my beloved father and other family members who are now members of the heavenly host.
As the sun sets, and the dark shadow of the Good Friday cross looms before us, may we be assured that the One who once hosted a Passover meal with a group of regular folk--his beloved disciples--has something extraordinary waiting for us beyond the cross!