I love to eat. If we're getting together, odds are good that I'm going to ask to meet over some sort of meal. Partly because food gives you something to do if conversation lags, but mostly because I just really enjoy a good meal. Gathering with people that I love around a table is my idea of a great time.
I think that's why today is my favorite day of Holy Week. Today is the day that we celebrate the first communion. There's something about this that is profoundly moving for me each time I take communion, and it's heightened each Maundy Thursday.
I just love the idea of the disciples gathered together for this meal. No doubt they ate as a group all the time, but they knew that this meal was special because of Passover. According to the passage in John 13, this was also a special dinner because Jesus took time to wash his friends' feet before they ate, placing himself in the role of a servant.
But I mostly I think about the event itself. Friends gathered together to participate in a tradition, one they had done their whole lives. Sitting around, talking, laughing, catching up on the latest stories. Can you pass this? May I have some of that? People who are comfortable with one another, who love one another, who have a common ministry with one another. Honestly, this is about a perfect night for me.
And then Jesus switches it up. He breaks the bread and passes the cup and tells his closest friends that this night he is establishing a new covenant with them. He is the spotless lamb and his sacrifice will save not only the firstborn, but all of God's children.
My favorite definition of the word communion is "intimate communication." When I think about that first communion meal, I am sure that there was intimate communication happening at that table.
The celebration of the Eucharist is beautiful to me because of the reminder of the intimate communication that we are able to have with God as a result of Jesus's death and resurrection.
And it is a reminder of the intimate communication we are to have with one another.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)As we prepare to celebrate Easter, let's take a moment to reflect on our communion with God and with one another.
And if you're ever in town, give me a holler. We'll do lunch.