For our final Communion service of 2020, we sit in the church building or at home, together or alone. We have been through so much since January, when turning up at church was a choice we made for very different reasons to today. We recognise that through this year we have gone through our own experience of death; not only are there people no longer sharing in this meal today, but we have lost events, occasions and opportunities.
Around the table, around our tables, we admit our feelings before God. We may look back with regret or joy; we may look forward with fear or anticipation; we may only be able to look at the here and now. But we are who we are today: weak or strong, broken or whole, at rock bottom or at the top of the mountain. Or somewhere in between.
We remember the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, where Jesus and his disciples were around a table. Emotions are also mixed within that gathering; jealousy, worry, guilt, even the joy of remembering God’s intervention in ancient history. Some are looking back, even as far back as the stories of freed slaves in Egypt; others are looking forward to the possibilities of the future with Jesus. However, one is anticipating a very different future starting with a kiss, and one has his future rewritten even while reclining at the table.
Jesus, in the midst of all these emotions, is going through his own thoughts and feelings, knowing that the culmination of so much is just hours away.
Taking up bread and wine, Jesus tries to explain something of what lies ahead not just for him but the whole of humanity – past, present and future.
“Take and eat…” – “Drink this, all of you…” words that speak of an imminent moment in time and yet also in eternity. A body broken, yet able to carry the sins of the world on outstretched arms. Blood shed, a sacrifice to pay the price humanity cannot afford. And all done for those who would desert him, abuse him, ignore him, worship him.
Whatever our other feelings may be, it is also in gratitude that we gather;
Thankful for Jesus’ example to us in his life and the gift for us through his death.
As we eat and drink in remembrance of all that was accomplished on the cross,
we share in the grace that you offer through forgiveness
that by our action or inaction we need.
Christ’s death was for love of all humanity, even those who hated him.
May we share in this love through bread and wine,
And share out that love through life.
Remembering Christ’s death on the cross, a once-for-all act of love that continues to transform lives, we eat and we drink in thankfulness.
Pause to eat. Pause to drink.
Today, as every day, we are being united by the Spirit, through the saving power of the Son, in the creating love of the Father. As we move from this moment to the next, we recognise that God is still active. Just as Jesus went from death to resurrected life, God isn’t finished with us. We pray in hope:
May we live in the reality of today with you
As you continue to make and remake us in grace, love and mercy,
Knowing that our journey with you is without end.