Thursday, April 2, 2015
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” ― Luke 22:19
Today, liturgically speaking, is Maundy Thursday or the day of the Last Supper. The word “maundy” comes from the Latin “mandamus” which means “to command” and from which we get the words “mandate” and “mandatory.” It refers to Christ’s commandment in the quote above telling us to remember Him every time we have Holy Communion or Eucharist. A bit off the subject, but when I was in Greece a number of years ago, I was surprised to learn that the word used for “thank you” in Greek is “evchristo” which makes perfect sense to me. Back to the topic at hand, Christ wanted us to remember His sacrifice for us by celebrating, that’s right, by celebrating—not mourning or sadness. We say that we pastors “celebrate Holy Communion” as it is indeed a celebration of all that Christ did for us, does for us, and will always do for us. The meal that Christ was having with the Disciples was most likely the Passover Meal or Seder that all Jews celebrate to remember their escape from Egypt. Karen and I have been honored to have been invited to several Seders with different Jewish families, and we loved that it was a family thing. As Protestants, we have lost much of the family worship that was central to both the Jewish and the Catholic faith which is a shame. One of the parts of the Seder is a litany that is just wonderful. It repeats over and over that if all God did was get the Jews out of Egypt, that would have been enough. Then, if all He did was get them through the Red Sea, that would have been enough, and on and on until they get to the promised land. There is a lesson there for all of us that if only God had done one little thing for us—it would have been enough, but God showers us with blessings. Maundy Thursday reminds us of one of the greatest blessings of all—the giving of God’s only son to die for us, rise for us, and to live in us, giving us eternal life and the comforting embrace of His forgiveness and love. I hope you can make it to a service today. Communion today is special (as all celebrations of Holy Communion are special) but today is the one where it all began. It gives me chills just thinking about being in that room in the presence of our Lord. It gives me chills to know that all I have to do is invoke His name and I will be in His presence right here, right now. Thank you, Jesus, and I mean that very sincerely and humbly.