Prayer: Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, mercifully grant than when we receive these mysteries, we do so in thankful remembrance of both his sacrifice and his gift of eternal life; through Christ who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lessons: Exodus 12:1-14 Psalm 116:10-16 Luke 22:14-30
“Go and prepare the Passover meal for us for us that we may eat it.” v.8
Jesus is quite aware of what is about to take place. The scriptures have foretold it. The Father has willed it, and Jesus is set to fulfill this plan of salvation for humankind. After this final meal with his disciples, he will face betrayal, arrest, mockery, brutality, and death. And knowing all that, he tells his disciples to make ready for the plan to be set in motion.
This last meal, the final time he will sit in peace with his closet friends, is an important part of this story of salvation. It’s the Passover meal, the celebration of the occasion long ago when God acted to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Jesus wants to make sure his followers connect that event with events that are about to unfold. It isn’t some meaningless tragedy that awaits us; it is nothing less than God’s plan to deliver the world from the bondage of sin and death.
Jesus takes bread and wine and gives it to his disciples and says, “This is my body. This is my blood,” which I will sacrifice for the life of the world and for its redemption.
The bread and wine the followers of Jesus share at communion still has the power to make holy the sufferings of this world. These symbols of our faith, given to us by the Lord himself, remind us that God doesn’t redeem us by taking away suffering; he redeems us through it. When we suffer with and for this world in Jesus’ name and with faith in God’s redemption, we are imitating Christ and showing the love of God and the power of God’s salvation.
In this time, when it seems the world is in chaos and anxiety and worry rule our days, let us remember that, in fact, God rules. And that through the grace and redemption of the world through Christ, we have the promise of salvation and the hope of renewed life through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Holy God, I marvel at your willingness to suffer for my sake. Help me to embrace the suffering in my life as the channel through which your healing love will flow.
St. Paul’s, Leavenworth