“Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.” (Luke 22:8)
That’s Jesus talking to Peter and John, instructing them to make preparations for a very important meal together, a meal for remembrance and celebration of God’s great deliverance through sacrifice, a meal that he deeply desires to eat, and to eat with them (Luke 22:15), a meal he is about to change, because the deliverance he will bring about is far greater than the Exodus.
As I have studied this sacrament over the past week in preparation for this coming Sunday, as my understanding has grown, my wonder, awe, and joy has increased. I realize how much I need this meal. I realize how much we, the church, need this meal. And by God’s grace, my desire to eat a meal like this, with the bread and the wine a part of it, well, I deeply desire to share this meal with other disciples of Jesus too.
Tim Chester says it this way,
“In a busy culture with people desperate to succeed, we practice in the Meal resting on the finished work of Christ. In a fragmented culture that is radically individualistic, we practice in the Meal belonging to one another. In a dissatisfied culture of constant striving, we practice in the Meal receiving this world with joy as a gift from God. In a narcissistic culture of self-fulfillment, we practice in the Meal joyous self-denial and service. In a proud culture of self-promotion, we practice in the Meal humility and generosity. All these practices are habit-forming, and so seep into the rest of our lives.
After all this has been said, remember, Jesus didn’t say, “Think this in remembrance of me.” The Meal serves its purposes not when it’s written about in books, but when it’s shared in the Christian community.
(A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, & Mission around the Table, p. 124)
That would be a meal worth eating and sharing.
There is a new hunger in me for the Meal as I’ve spent time in the world of Jesus and the early church, watching how they did this, and the way they celebrated this. It is my prayer that some of the Biblical reflections this coming Sunday (by God’s grace, and in the power of the Spirit) will begin the process of getting us closer in our practice and experience.