In Luke 22, we encounter Jesus celebrating the very last Passover before he transformed this feast to give it a profoundly different meaning into what we have come to know as Holy Communion. Jesus tells his disciples that he wanted to eat the Passover meal with them before he goes to die, He wanted to enjoy their companionship before He left. Jesus instituted a new ceremony of remembrance even before completing the redemptive act on the cross. The bread was a symbol of Him as the “Bread of Life” and the wine was a symbol of His blood shed to erase all of our sins. And what did his disciples do? They argued amongst themselves about which of them was the most important. Jesus, despite His own inner turmoil over the torture and death He was about to suffer, reached out again in love, as He had so many times before, to instruct the disciples in the true meaning of His ministry. Being a servant, being willing to offer oneself in sacrifice, to lower oneself so that others can stand and grow, was at the very heart of His leadership.
I am not sure about you, but for me this story is greatly familiar, the lessons seemingly old hat. “Why read this again? I know it and, obviously, put it into practice.”
But just under the surface, is a gentle reminder. Remembering Him in the bread and the wine is the very diminishment of the “I know,” the “me.” It brings us to what Jesus was telling his disciples when He said the “first shall be last and the greatest shall be the least.” It is the faith and surrender of being “me” in order to be “like Him” in all those multiple and varied situations that would result in the real communion of the body of Christ–whether that be my family, a group of friends, a group of co-workers on the job, a small group from church, or the many acquaintances I avoid interacting with on a daily basis because they may have some need and “I have too much to do” and “they will be better off finding their own way through their difficulties.”
It is in sitting down with my children and helping them with their homework instead of yelling at them for not having it done; recognizing that I am unfairly expecting too much to get done and coming alongside the group at work to write a section of proposal that they are behind on instead of trying to find who to blame; being there at the small group meeting at church even when I have read and discussed that book already three times; cutting through the stereotypes and not running in the other direction because I imagine, often incorrectly, that I will have to give up “my” time or resources in interacting with someone I don’t know very well. I find that it is in these instances that my relationship with Jesus grows deeper and more constant, I am in real fellowship with others. My journey of understanding, that only through His Grace I can do anything at all, begins anew. The infinite Love and Mercy of God has brought me one step closer to communion with those the Lord has called me to. Glory be to God