At the dawn of the new year, as we look forward with hope, we also look back with mixed feelings.
There are those who we have shared with around the table who we will no longer be seeing. There are those who are new to us, friendships gained and new faces amongst us. There are those who we have met, left, and also continue to share our lives with.
As we come to the Table today in our separate places, we are reminded of the unifying Spirit of God that knows no boundaries, breaks down walls, and binds us together. Even death is no barrier for God’s Spirit of love.
It was for that same love that Jesus sat with his disciples for one last supper before he was parted from them by death, desertion, and betrayal.
Around the table, Jesus was the troubled host. His act of service had left his disciples with clean feet, but their minds were still clouded. Questions of superiority still dogged them, even while Jesus showed them the way of real authority by washing feet and breaking bread.
“This is my body, broken for you,” Jesus said, taking, thanking, breaking and giving the bread of abundant grace.
“This is my blood, shed for you,” Jesus said, as each disciple drinks from the cup of salvation.
The meal is eaten, the hymn is sung and into the darkness of the night they leave, as the world will never be the same again.
As we also prepare to eat and to drink, so too we pray in gratitude:
Once again, we return to your Table to eat and drink in remembrance.
Once again, we are reminded of the loving acts of your Son amongst his friends and even for his enemies.
Once again, we are mindful of our own failings, our own weaknesses when it comes to loving others.
We are thankful that we don’t have to be perfect, that we don’t have to do it all alone.
We are thankful that Jesus paid the price on the cross, so that we can truly live in peace with you.
We are thankful that through his death, Jesus bore the sins of the whole world.
So, we eat and drink in remembrance that Christ died for you, for me, for everyone.
Pause to eat. Pause to drink.
The meal is finished, our lives continue. Just as Jesus was not left cold in the tomb, but was raised to glorious, resurrected life by the Spirit, so too we are given life again. As God’s grace sustains us and his love unites us, so we pray:
You sent your Son as an example to us all
Of loving service, challenging authority, and saving grace.
His death on the cross was not the end that some intended it would be,
But rather the ultimate example of love, challenge, and rescue.
May it mean as much to us today, to set us aright with you, to inspire us to new heights,
In our lives from this moment on.
From his death, may we find life.