We have a family friend who now lives out in the wacky west. He’s not a rebellious kind of person rather more of the adventurous type. So he declares “why not live somewhere else for a bit.” He traveled home to visit his family for Passover and to partake in the Passover Seder, a sacred meal eaten on the night of the first full moon of springtime. Passover is not an inconsequential occurrence. For Jews, it is sacred. It is a story of their identity as a blessed people. The Seder is the time to remember. They eat the meal not in the temple or synagogue but in their home. Their most sacred ritual of identity begins at home where a meal is prepared as a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God. This sacrifice involves not just merely ritual but a renewing of a sense of community. We know from the story from Exodus, Jewish people were instructed to paint the doorposts of their houses with blood of the sacrificial lamb and when God caused the plagues to infect the Egyptians because Pharaoh would not relent, would not let God’s people go and allow the Israelites to leave for the Promised Land, the angel of death passed over their homes and they were safe. The Israelites eat the Passover with their clothes on, their sandals on and their staffs ready for travel. They must be ready to go; they must be ready to take advantage of what God does. The Seder is more than a remembering of facts from the past. It is a way to become re-attached.
It is Maundy Thursday. It is not an inconsequential occurrence for us. It is part of our scared story. We remember Jesus gathering in the upper room with his disciples where they ate the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs and drank the wine. Jesus remembered his story, the story of the Exodus, of what God did for God’s covenant people. Together, they gathered, ate, drank and remembered. Jesus told his disciples: “I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done.” (John 13:14) Maundy Thursday reminds me of my commitment to live by the teachings of Christ. Particularly, on this Maundy Thursday, I tarry with the questions: How am I respecting the dignity of God’s creatures, community and creation? How am I literally and figuratively, showing the same hospitality, the same acceptance, as Christ shows me? Off to my chair.
Scripture Reading: John 13:34-35
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Who needs a little bit more of your love?
How are you showing the hospitality of Christ to others?
What is an important ritual in your family (past or present)?
Prayer: Holy God, with a new commandment, you invite me to share your loving, healing and reconciling presence. Let your Spirit rest upon me. Give me the strength, wisdom and courage to be persistent enough in following you. Amen.
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