A World-Standing-Still-Moment

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

A tour of four painted churches near Schulenburg, Texas yielded these images.

Painted Church ceiling near Schulenburg, Texas

The events of Maundy Thursday are well-known: Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, his institution of the Lord’s Supper, his time of intense prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his betrayal by Judas and arrest by the Roman soldiers. This, in many ways is the day on which all the powers and players coalesce toward Jesus’ death, setting things in motion for the greatest victory and turn-around of all time when Jesus rises from the dead on Sunday. The sudden unfolding of events is at a fever pitch now, and world-changing results are on the horizon.

But now, for a moment, the swirling events come to rest in this Last Supper moment. It is as if time stands still. And that is so true for us even today as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper in our churches – or at least it ought to be.

If you want some help in embracing that world-standing-still-moment, here are two thoughts:

We do this in remembrance of Jesus. We receive Jesus’ body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. With that comes the forgiveness of sins – as is clearly spoken by Jesus, “…given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” And while we may gloss over it, this is a meal of remembrance. The idea of remembrance is that of going back to that moment, putting yourself at that table with Jesus and his disciples. Can you see the discarded bowl of water with which Jesus washed his disciples’ feet? Do you smell the roast lamb and the bitter herb? Will you put yourself at that table and realize how precious these words are, “This is my body…this is my blood of the new covenant…,” Jesus says. Remember; put yourself in that stand-still-moment.

Recognize that we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes as we celebrate this meal. Jesus instituted this meal on the night he was betrayed; the night he would be arrested, mocked, tortured, and the next day executed as a common criminal. When we receive this Supper for the Soul, we proclaim Jesus’ death until he comes. That means we must embrace our need for a Savior from sin. That means that we must say, “I come to this meal because I am a sinner – not because I deserve to be here, or because I am worthy.”  We receive this meal in a worthy manner (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27-28) when we confess our unworthiness. But Jesus’ death is for the sins of the world. This is no martyr’s death, but the death that brings forgiveness, life, and salvation.

 

I look forward to this world-standing-still-moment today as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the Passover Seder today. I want to remember what Jesus did and proclaim his death for the sins of the world which includes my own.

Holy Week Readings for Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday
March 24, 2016
Holy Thursday
ARTPRAYER
Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14 Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 John 13:1-17, 31b-35

 

 

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