For most of us, one of our favourite things to do is to get together with family and friends and share a meal. It’s a lot of work for some but it gives us joy and satisfaction nonetheless and binds together our relationships. We can be found gathering for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners, weddings, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries or random summer barbecues (may the time soon be here). People are the main ingredient, but after that food and drink are required. This is something that has not changed in all of human history and is observable across all countries and cultures.
We need to bear this in mind when we think of ‘The Lord’s Supper’, this meal that is at the centre of Christian life and worship, lest we miss out on its relevance. In the first instance, when Jesus shared the meal with his friends, they were in fact celebrating one of the highest Jewish feasts, Passover, and its centrepiece, the Seder supper. This supper was mandated in the Torah (Law) to remember, reflect on and teach to new generations the story of God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Although loaded with historical significance, the Seder was and is also a time for a fun family feast.
The Lord’s Supper is in a sense, then, a simplified re-enactment of the Seder feast. We need people, food (bread) and drink (wine/juice). We are meeting as family – the sons and daughters of God – and as such we seek to strengthen our relationship with one another and with Jesus. Jesus is present in at least two ways. First, he is with us, though invisibly, as the host of the dinner. After all, it’s Jesus who invites (“Come to me..”) and who mandates our ongoing participation (“Do this in remembrance of me”). Second, he offers his life to us (..eat, this is my body.. drink, this is my blood).
This simple meal, then, is a celebration of our love for each other and for Christ. The early church called it the love (Greek: agape) feast. Please join with us on March 5th, the first Sunday in Lent, as we gather together in all three churches for our Lord’s Supper.
In Christ’s love,