Thursday, March 24, 2016

Eating and Drinking

Thursday of Holy Week is full of memorable events, but none stands above the final supper Jesus had with His disciples.  He shared a meal of tradition, the Passover meal, and transformed the table into an altar which would forever bring His sacrifice on the cross into the room where future disciples would gather.  He used ordinary things like bread and wine.  He broke the bread and gave it to them saying, "Take, eat, this is my body."  He took the cup, gave it to them and said, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant..." (Matthew 26:26-27)  Ordinary things and ordinary acts.  What is more ordinary for any of us than eating and drinking?

However, the way Jesus used the words and the way He used the common things of the earth is no less than amazing.  Everyone knows about eating and drinking.  It is something necessary for life.  When we eat and drink, our body takes what it needs to grow and sustain life from the things we put into our mouths.  It is something truly extraordinary.  So, Jesus says the bread on the table is His body; the wine in the cup is His blood.  As we share in the holy meal He instituted that night, it is for us a moment of taking into ourselves that which is necessary for our spiritual life.  As we eat and drink physical food and drink, we nurture our body and as we eat and drink the sacrament of the bread and wine, we receive spiritual nurture for our soul.  It is an eating and drinking that speak of taking Him into the core of our spiritual being so that our life with God might be sustained in an abundant fashion.

To go to the Table is to go to the Cross.  Always it is such a moment.  One reason I prefer to kneel when receiving Holy Communion is that kneeling always seems like a more appropriate posture when in the presence of the One whose death means life for each one of us.  If we are privileged to go to the Table on this Maundy Thursday, eat with thanksgiving, and drink deeply from the cup of blessing. 

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