At this Maundy Thursday Service, the Reverend Helen Franssell takes another look at the Lord’s Supper– and the night on which it was ‘mandated’ by Jesus. Here are some excerpts:
Month after month when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper Neil repeats the words of Jesus as recorded in the gospels, “do this as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, in remembrance of me”; “do this in remembrance of Me . . .”, “do this in remembrance of me . . .”, “do this in remembrance of Me . ..” Just as the washing of feet was a daily occurrence, so our sin happens routinely, just like feet get dirty every time we put our feet to the floor! That’s why we do this because we need to remember; it is one of the means of the Holy Spirit, Whose function is to apply salvation to our hearts and minds – regeneration – to reassure that we are truly His, still, cleansed of our sin. We do it so that WE remember Christ’s death for us, and so that WE remember that HE remembers US, according to His covenant promises.
This table is to us the spiritual and special presence of Christ. When you think about tables laden with food, that brings up some pretty special memories and thoughts, doesn’t it, even if it’s just dinner every night as our families share what their days were like – these are intimate times that build relationships and connection. This intimate table reminds us that we are His own – we are His as a wife and children belong to a husband/father. At this table we have warm, honest, familiar conversation.
And last, every time we celebrate this supper we also look to the future – to the consummation ofGod’s covenant with us. At the Last Supper Jesus said “29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of thevvine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:28)All of history is encapsulated at this table – from Old Covenant sacrifices of the blood of lambs that pointed to the New Covenant, the sacrifice of the Son of God as that innocent, pure lamb, to the day when we sit at the table with that Lamb, when the covenant is consummated. All of God’s love, His forgiveness of all of our sin, victory in its fullness is celebrated at that table.
You are invited to take a seat at God’s table; your seat at this table has been reserved for you by the body and blood of Christ. Your place is set; there is a name card marking your seat! RSVP to that invitation by faith right now, if you have not already, and come to this table!