Sunday, February 17
When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:14-20)
. . . Do this in remembrance of me. . . .
The passage from Luke’s Gospel describes Jesus sharing a Passover meal with his disciples a few days before he goes to his death on the cross. The Passover meal was traditionally shared with family and so for Jesus to gather with his “family” of followers was particularly significant. In subsequent verses, Jesus lays out the covenant relationship which will be the foundation of the future Christian Church. We re-enact the meal and the commitment each time we share in Holy Communion.
I grew up in the Evangelical and Reformed Church and in that tradition children did not participate in Holy Communion until they had become confirmed members of the church. At age thirteen I received my first Communion from the hands of my best friend’s dad, our pastor. I can still remember the great realization of formally becoming part of this community — sharing the bread and wine with my friends, their parents, neighbors of every age, the teachers from my school, Mike the butcher from the Kroger store, and Sidney the private policeman who walked the neighborhood beat every night. I was one with them and they with me and all together in Christ. Sixty years later Holy Communion is still for me a thrilling and deeply moving experience.
-Submitted by Michael Herzog
The practice of the Passover Meal in Hebrew tradition is rich in connecting the Jews with a God who liberated them from Egyptian rule. Jesus’ proclamation through his pronouncement of the Isaiah text in Luke 4 inaugurates his mission to “set the captives free.” How does this meal remind you of God’s desire that you are freed from whatever holds you captive?
In contemporary culture, we find it expedient to skip family meals in favor of gulping down “fast food” to allow us to proceed to our next activity. Yet, some of the most important conversations happen during a family meal time. What important conversations do you recall happening around the meal table? What conversations should you have this week?