Communion – Maundy Thursday
Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.
Communion – fellowship with God, between Christ and His people, by the Spirit, and of believers with one another. Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
Our scripture today is about what we term ‘The Last Supper.’ It’s supposed to be the last time the disciples shared a meal with their Jesus before His death.
Most of us have probably taken communion at some time in our lives. It might be once a week, monthly or quarterly. Each religion will have it’s own interpretation of how often it should be served. They may ‘pass the elements’ down the row of pews, it may be given by in-tincture or administered by a priest. However you have taken communion, it’s probably the way you feel is the appropriate way.
Today I want to challenge the way you take communion. Today I want you to journey back 2000 years with me and sit with the disciples and Jesus. I want you to experience what it might have been like that first time…
It’s what would become Holy Week. It was Passover and the city of Jerusalem is packed. Just as it was with His birth and Bethlehem was crowded, so is the city that would crucify Him.
He and His disciples have arrived with great fan fare and welcoming. The crowd was almost in a frenzy. The noise must have been like going to a pro football game. Expectations were high.
They find the place that Jesus had directed them to and settled in for the night. Their host was generous and fixed them with a wonderful meal and provided a private room to enjoy the food and rest from the demands of the day. They were excited to talk about all that had happened.
It was the perfect ending for a perfect day. That’s what they might have thought. Remember, they haven’t had the opportunity to read to the end of the Book.
But then Jesus does something at the end of the meal that was unexpected. He takes the bread, gives thanks and breaks it up and gives a piece to each disciple. He uses the symbolism of the bread as being His body, they were to remember Him. Then He pours more wine, and again using the wine as a symbol, says it’s His blood pour out for them. They are to share and remember what He is going to do for them.
But what is He going to do? At this point they don’t realize that He’s going to die for their sins. They believe with His many followers, He would take control of the city and rule! He was after all, the Messiah, the One they had waited for.
Now rewind your thoughts. I want you to sit at the table with the disciples and Jesus. I want you to take an eraser and erase the Leonardo da Vinci painting of the Last Supper. Clear the canvas and all of your preconceived ideas of what it might of been like.
The room is dark. It has a few candles around the edges but the atmosphere is dimly lit. A breeze may move the covering over the window. You’re aren’t sitting in chairs around a table. More than likely you are laying on the floor, with a low table in the middle. Cushions give support as you rest on your side, enjoying the food. Laughter mingles with the talk of what happened during the day. You listen to the other’s experiences and share yours. You are really enjoying everybody’s company.
You reach to the center of the table to get some more food and that’s when Jesus places His hand on yours. You look up into His eyes and He says, ‘I love you, you are so special to me. Be strong.’
You pause, thinking on what He just said to you. You realize then that He has been touching each disciple and talking privately with them. He seems pensive and thoughtful tonight, more than any other night you’ve been with Him.
With a lighter feeling in the air, Jesus asks you to share what you felt, understood and enjoyed today. Did you have any sorrows? What made you laugh?
Shortly after that, Judas gets up and leaves the room, eyes become sleepy and the talk slows down. There is a peace in the room like you’ve never experienced before…
A few days later, after He’s gone, you realize on that night, you had a very special communion with God.
Maybe we should look at communion as an everyday event, sharing our lives with Him who gave His for us. Yes, we need to continue to share communion within our churches. But we also need to share communion with Him, as we sit quietly and let Him look into our eyes and as He says: ‘I love you, you are so special to me.’
Jesus, I love just being with You. To sit and think on Your Word. To let You guide my thoughts. I am so humbled to be in Your presence. Yet, how often do I look into Your eyes? Do I even realize when You touch my hand? Jesus, please help me see through spiritual eyes and see the glory of Your love. Please give me Your strength and courage to love others, so they too may be touched by Your presence.