Christine [my wife] said to me that all our life has been a preparation for this time.
I am applying this thought to Holy Week and the Last Supper.
Jesus met a violent death at the hands of his own people, though he was executed by the Roman Government.
On the night when he was handed over to the Jewish leaders, he had supper with is friends. During supper he picked up a loaf of bread, said Grace and broke it in pieces.
‘This is my very own self,’ he said. ‘I am giving myself up for you. Do this to remember me by.’
When supper was over, he raised the cup in the same way.
‘This cup,’ he said, ‘means my death. I am dying to bring all men to God, as the Bible says, “from the least of them to the greatest”
Whenever you drink it, remember me.’
And so, he died and was buried.
Jesus often dined with outsiders. He invited them with no strings attached. Repentance came later on some occasions.
We are encouraged to live sacramental lives. All meals are sacramental. He said, ‘Do this until I come’. Well he has come in many ways. Hymn 525 quotes Schweitzer when he says ‘He comes to us as one unknown ‘.
I once asked one of the brothers at Taize how Jesus managed to cope with difficulty, and he referred to the last supper showing how during difficulty Jesus was there for others and able to live the moment with others.
We could continue but narrative theology which I am keen on suggests that we become the story and the story becomes us so here goes.
The story of the last week is a tragedy. You can save a tragedy if it has meaning. A meaningless tragedy is hard to cope with. You will all have your own meaning for this week. The end is difficult to anticipate. It was Jung who said, ‘We cannot live our lives in the afternoon of life according to life’s morning’. The situation for Jesus of Jerusalem is not the earlier situation in Galilee.
I have been thinking of the windmill and all the people to have worked there to produce the flour for bread.
I am waiting for a delivery from the Cornfield. The present moment causes us to reflect on the place of bread.
There is a story of some Jewish ladies in New York who were having lunch. They had survived the camps. The waiter asked if they would like him to take the bread away. They said no as their jewellery would hardly have bought the bread in the persecution of their people. (remember the Passover meal reflected the time of persecution in Egypt).
In the present situation we learn to adapt.
We also learn to reflect and appreciate things. Nathan [my son] came down with Arthur [my grandson] just before the lock down. He was anxious to come with a sense of foreboding. We went to Blenheim and had sandwiches and crisps in the café. Just as for Nathan there was surely a deep of foreboding for Jesus.
On Thursdays some of us come to pray. We bring food and we share. When it goes you know what you are missing.
I think of mealtimes and Arthur complaining that there was no one sitting opposite him to look at. For some there are few people to meet with at this time.
I think of communion when one of the children said ‘Cheers’ when [our old minister] Charles raised the cup – I do not remember exactly what Charles said but you can imagine.
I have just heard on the news that Easter eggs and hot cross buns are not essential. Perhaps they are not necessary or are they a moment of joy during pain.
I see Jesus’s last supper as a moment of joy during pain.
All his short life had prepared him for the moment.
Many of us have had more time to prepare for this moment.