For most of my life I’ve trudged through Easter. The sermons. The movies. The baskets. All that time I’ve felt guilty…guilty for not experiencing the ‘appropriate emotions’ during this very solemn time of year. The gravitas of it all, Jesus, the Son of God, dying a horrific and gory death, for me! I was distressed that I was not more, you know, distressed about it all!
Surely, if I loved the Lord, I’d be able to endure the various stages of Holy Week, and ponder the weighty seriousness of the occasion. Surely, if I had grasped the enormity of what was done on Calvary, I’d be able to give up something substantive for Lent instead of reluctantly passing up chocolate or something equally inconsequential, compared to what Jesus gave up.
Year after year I dreaded Easter. What was it that I should feel or do to commemorate the brutally vicious murder of an innocent man that I never met, have not seen, yet fully believe in and claim to love?
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."” Luke 22:19
Ordinarily, I don’t try to put myself ‘in the Bible’. The Bible is not my story; it is not my experience. It belonged to the ones who were there. But this scripture has my attention; it speaks to me.
When Jesus had the last Passover meal with his friends, his brothers, his disciples, they were doing something so powerful, yet so inherently organic that the passage of time has not changed it. They were having dinner. I get that. We get that. All of us, no matter the culture, tradition, or religion, know how to gather at the table and eat together.
So they sat, eating, drinking and talking. Jesus knows the time is near. The tension in the room is high; everyone knows that this is a difficult time. There are no secrets here. Judas is called on the carpet. Allegiances are being tested. Love is boldly declared!
Did they know this would be the last Passover meal, the last meal of any kind with Him? Could they have fathomed how soon they would be eating without Him?
I can’t help but imagine that if I knew that today would be the last meal with any of the people I love, what a sacred meal that would be. What a time of conviction, reflection and longing. Yes, this scripture speaks to me.
I believe that every meal from that point on conjured up intimate memories of times when their beloved Jesus was right there in their midst, eating, teaching, laughing and sharing. Jesus’ spot was empty. I imagine that their hearts broke daily, just as they ate daily. In my mind, I picture those who were there when he died, those who roamed the city streets in stupefied distress, looking for a place to hide and cry and wail for their Lord. They are the ones I think of this week. In a symbolic way, I am one of them. I was once distressed and looking for the Saviour. I was lost in the streets, confused and broken, spiritually dead. For those who tarried with Jesus there was a glorious plot twist pending! In three days Jesus arose, and for forty days after he was seen, heard, and experienced. And yes, once again he ate with his friends!
What it must have meant to gather for a meal after his resurrection, after his miraculous victory! Every meal was a new kind of remembrance! Each meal since then must have been spent talking about how unbelievable Jesus was, how unmistakably alive, how greatly powerful and how completely awesome!
Jesus is alive! Now I too sit at the table with so many others who love him like I do, and I remember…I truly remember Him. Over a meal, in the presence of others, I honour the Spirit of the risen Christ; I’ve found love, healing, joy, deliverance. Gathered around the table, reveling in grace and forgiveness, I feel the depth and the strength of everything that Jesus died for, everything that he lives for, everything that he gave us. Together, we can recount the many blessings and benefits and proofs of his love! This is the Easter I need, and honestly, I need it every single day.
**Communion is the way that Jesus instructed his disciples to remember him, his broken body and his blood shed. If you have a local church home, I encourage you to participate with your church family in Maundy Thursday communion. If you do not, don’t let this hinder you! Gather wherever you will, with another who loves the Lord, and remember him together.
Whatever you decide to do, we’d love to hear about it. Leave us a comment.