Feb. 26, 2012
(Jesus said,) and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
A few years ago, two pastor friends and I went to a Seder (Passover) Meal lead by a Jewish man who also considers himself a Christian. What an interesting and fascinating meal! We ate matzah (unleavened bread), drank “wine” and sipped matzah soup. The leader helped us understand just when during the Seder Meal Jesus took the hidden bread, broke it and gave it to the disciples and said the bread represents his broken body. And one of the last drinks of wine became the cup that Jesus identified as his blood shed for all humanity.
The last few years, we have celebrated an abbreviated version of a Seder Meal on Maundy Thursday at Midland where I serve. It has become a tradition, in which we see how the Christian tradition comes out of Jewish roots.
Born and raised as a Jewish man, Jesus would have celebrated the Passover meal his entire life. But his last Passover meal was different. Jesus used this meal to help explain what his life meant and represented. It is at this meal that Jesus teaches the disciples how to continue to remember all he taught them through what Christians call the sacrament of communion. For Jesus, this Seder meal wasn’t just a meal. It was hugely symbolic for folks to remember his life and his purpose for eternity.
When I serve communion – whether in worship or individually with a shut-in or another person – I feel this is one of the great privileges in my role. Before Jesus left his close friends, he wanted to make sure they were spiritually fed. Yes, their tummies were full after eating the special Seder food. More importantly, he wanted the guys to have symbols and special ways to remember him long after he was gone. Jesus didn’t let them down.
So many times, I’ve remembered this great act with friends and loved ones. I recall sharing communion with my 102-year-old Grandma Deaton as one of the most special times I’ve served communion. Another deeply meaningful time is when Rick and I serve the folks attending our wedding.
We often have unique and special traditions at holiday meals. That’s what Jesus did at this Seder meal. It’s a tradition that continues until today. Thanks be to Jesus for this deeply personal and often meaningful way for us to remember his sacrifice for us.
Let us pray: Let us be bread, bless by the Lord. Broken and shared, life for the world. Let us be wine, love freely poured. Let us be one in the Lord. Amen.