Posted on in Blog by The Rev. David Marshall
On the night Jesus was arrested, he gathered his disciples and shared a Passover meal. At this meal, Jesus gave them, and us, what he knew they would need to follow him and continue his work and ministry. He took bread, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Take, eat. This is my body which is given for you.” And he took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and gave that to them as well, saying, “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink this, do this to remember me.”
That is what Jesus gave us. A meal to be shared with friends. No doctrine or theology to memorize. No new scriptures. Just a meal.
We form ourselves as the church and we follow Jesus by sharing in this meal. Our faith was not given and has not survived as a list of doctrinal statements. There are plenty of doctrines out there to choose from, and plenty of conflicting theologies, to be sure.
Doctrines and theologies come and go, but the meal is constant. The story is constant. We share the meal and we tell the story, and we respond from our hearts.
Holy Week is the most sacred time in our yearly cycle of faith and worship. Starting with Palm Sunday, continuing with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter at sunrise on Easter morning, and climaxing with the joyous celebration of Easter at the primary Easter Day service, we put ourselves into the story and share in the meal that makes us Christians.
I invite you to participate in the story this year. Let your spirit be moved and shaped by the powerful words and the ancient rituals. We will participate in the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with our Palm Sunday service. We will gather for a shared meal at 7:00 PM on Maundy Thursday, as Jesus did at that last supper. We will join with Luther Memorial Church and Broadview United Church of Christ at the Henry Chapel for an ecumenical observance of Good Friday with the veneration of the cross, and splendid music. On Easter Sunday we will gather at 6:00 AM for a sunrise vigil at which we will light the “new fire” and will have three baptisms. At 8:30 we are offering Easter breakfast. Then, at 10:00 we will hold our primary Easter Day worship.
Yours in Christ,