Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Who would you invite to your last meal?

I simply love my faith tradition!  Especially the emphasis on communion!  However, you know what happens to those things we hold so dear.  We ritualize them.  Practicality takes over.  How fast can we get how many to celebrate the most important thing?  Hours can be spent devising the travel patterns of deacons with trays of communion elements.  Industrial engineers would marvel at the equipment provided for the preparation of communion trays.  
If you are re-using communion juice to the point of scraping mold from the top, you may have gone over board.

Stuart Duffin re rsa - The Last Supper (unveiled 4 March 2012)
What was that last supper like?  We are approaching Maundy Thursday.  The night that Jesus shared his last dinner with his disciples.  Before we explore that night, let me ask . . .
If you were to share your last meal with your best friends and family, how would you do it?  What would be important?
White bread and Welches grape juice?  That your priority?  Or would you work with whatever your friends and family brought to the table because they are the priority?
Reading the Gospels, the good news of Jesus Christ, trying to see that night through Jesus’ eyes … the mechanics of the meal pale in the face of that which is truly important.
This meal is only important because Jesus had shared 3 years worth of meals with these men and women.  Sharing a meal was part of their shared history.  What would be important at your last meal?  Share history?
I encourage you to read back through the gospels.  How many times does Jesus share a meal with people?  Or teach about how a meal should be shared?  Jesus used meal time as a teaching tool because it is part of all our shared history.  
Meal time was an opportunity to share the values of the kingdom of God.
Ever watch a prison meal?  The off arm hooked around the tray to protect the food from aggressors.  The barter system of trading food items.  No grace.  No mercy.  No love.
A meal in the kingdom of God is noteworthy!  Often Jesus invites the outcast to the table. (Zacchaeus: Luke 19:1-10)  Jesus encourages us to be humble at the meal time rather than attempt to take the seat of honor. (Luke 14)  So many lessons at the meal time.  
Our Lord wishes this of our meal time . . .
~ that it be open to all
~ that it be shared so as to point everyone to God
~ that it be shared so as to provide opportunity for reconciliation
~ that we remember Jesus and his life, death and resurrection until he returns
As I read the Bible, I see no limits on these four points.  These four corners of the table are to be lived to the extremes.  
Jesus shared his last meal with a man who betrayed him into torture and death. 
Jesus shared his last meal with a man who denied him 3 times.
Jesus shared his last meal with a gathering of people who mostly abandoned him on the cross.
Jesus shared his last meal with the future leaders of the Christian community.
Jesus shared his last meal with those who gave their lives because they believed in Jesus.

Would your last meal be as noble as Jesus?  Jesus invites you to his meal.  Do you invite Jesus to your meal?