July 21, 2019

Maundy Thursday 2019

Maundy Thursday 2019
Meal

When the time came for Jesus and the apostles to eat, he said to them, “I have very much wanted to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer. I tell you that I will not eat another Passover meal until it is finally eaten in God’s kingdom.”

Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he told the apostles, “Take this wine and share it with each other. I tell you that I will not drink any more wine until God’s kingdom comes.”

Jesus took some bread in his hands and gave thanks for it. He broke the bread and handed it to his apostles. Then he said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this as a way of remembering me!”

After the meal he took another cup of wine in his hands. Then he said, “This is my blood. It is poured out for you, and with it God makes his new agreement.

Luke 22:14-20

“When Jesus wanted to give his followers — then and now — a way of understanding what was about to happen to him, he didn’t teach them a theory. …He gave them an act to perform. Specifically, he gave them a meal to share” (Tom Wright).

Luke’s Gospel makes it clear that this was a meal eaten at Passover time. It thus brings to mind the founding story of Israel with all that involves: exile and slavery under the powers of the nations, judgment on those nations’ gods, divine redemption, deliverance, and the gift of freedom to make a journey of faith in covenant relationship with the true and living God.

Jesus meets now at the table with his disciples as the climax and fulfillment of that story — the true Passover, the lamb sacrificed, the unleavened bread prepared and eaten, the blood painted on the lintels and doorposts. The body given, the blood shed, the meal shared, and life received. Food for the ongoing journey.

I can no longer conceive of weekly Christian worship without the family of God in Christ gathering around the Table. It is where the entire story comes together, where the people of God taste and are nourished by the good news of salvation. It is the heart of worship, the very act of worship for Christians. We may have our occasional prayer services or services of the Word, but these are the exceptions. Genuine Christian worship involves the Word of good news and the Table where we feast upon the bread of life.

On this evening long ago, Jesus, who during Holy Week has been announcing judgment on the powers that hold God’s people captive, now serves them the meal of freedom.

Let the New Exodus begin!

Comments

  1. Susan Dumbrell says

    In the quiet of the evening on Maundy Thursday in Eastern Australia,
    I have have just been in my garden and have photographed the Easter moon rising .The moon was rising through the filigree of the Robinia Tree. Such a perfect photographic opportunity.
    To my right in the south the Southern Cross stars and the pointers are rising overhead, I wish I knew the correct names for these. (I need to Google search.) These stars are visible every night where I live so are a constant reminder to us pilgrims that Christ is with us every day as we travel towards and with Him in our daily path.
    On seeing these tonight my heart goes out to Christ for his protection and mercy.
    Our stars are so bright where I live, no smog or pollution.
    An evening spent in the garden watching all the stars pass overhead is such a joy. Dark night, bright stars.
    As we pause for Good Friday tomorrow we can indeed still see God’s mercy enfolding us into His Infinite Universe.
    I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

    May we all be blessed as Easter approaches..
    Susan

  2. I can no longer conceive of weekly Christian worship without the family of God in Christ gathering around the Table. It is where the entire story comes together, where the people of God taste and are nourished by the good news of salvation. It is the heart of worship, the very act of worship for Christians. We may have our occasional prayer services or services of the Word, but these are the exceptions. Genuine Christian worship involves the Word of good news and the Table where we feast upon the bread of life.

    I think it’s unfair to discount the genuineness of the worship of Christian churches that don’t celebrate Holy Communion frequently, or every Sunday. Is the worship of African-American churches that don’t celebrate Holy Communion as frequently really less genuine than that of their mainline and Catholic coreligionists? I don’t know on what basis one could possibly know that to be the case, and I doubt that it is true.

    • Robert, Chaplin Mike was giving his own opinion not speaking for the world. You seem to take a contrary position on every post. I also believe the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian worship. That is my opinion which I do not put on anyone else. Better to meditate on the passage and sit in silence.

    • Robert, the worship such churches give may be genuine as far as it goes, but IMO they are not expressing or experiencing the full meaning or benefits of Christian worship. They represent traditions that are relatively recent in church history and which essentially replaced the Eucharist with revivalistic or didactic practices that don’t come close to it for capturing what worship is all about. I have written here often about how Christian worship from its earliest days has been a meal fellowship — it is of its very nature. One might as well say a church experiences full Christian worship without the scriptures or baptism.

      • Agreed.

      • Agree++

        Thank you for this reminder.

        I, too, in my Lutheran experience these last 4+ years has driven this home, and I feel cheated all those years in the ‘traditions that are relatively recent in church history’ – namely my evangelical background.

        Weekly Table/Communion has changed worship and the richness and reminder (daily) of who I am in Christ.

        • I have written here often about how Christian worship from its earliest days has been a meal fellowship — it is of its very nature. One might as well say a church experiences full Christian worship without the scriptures or baptism.

          Yet I believe the non-evangelical Quakers do exactly that, and better than most of creedal Christians, if the measure of Christian discipleship and worship is to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, as Micah 6:8 would have it.

          • This was meant to be a reply to CM’s comment above, not to you charlie. My apologies.

  3. Christiane says

    ” . . . they drew nigh to the town whither they were going: and He made as though He would go farther. But they constrained Him, saying:
    Stay with us, because it is towards evening and the day is now far spent.

    And He went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst He was at table with them, He took bread and blessed and brake and gave to them. And their eyes were opened: and they knew Him. And He vanished out of their sight.

    And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in the way and opened to us the scriptures? And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them,
    Saying:
    The Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared to Simon.

    And they told what things were done in the way:
    AND HOW THEY RECOGNIZED HIM IN THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD”

    (from the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, Ch. 24)