Today is Maundy Thursday. Under normal circumstances we would be sharing a soup supper served by the youth in the fellowship hall followed by a brief worship service recalling Jesus’ last supper.
Here’s how it goes: Jesus’ takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to his disciples. Then he takes the cup, blesses it and gives it to his disciples. This is the fundamental pattern of Jesus’ life, as well as ours as his followers. We take up our lives, taking responsibility for them. We bless our lives, recognizing them as the sacred gift they are. We are broken, by our own actions, the actions of others, that is the way of life. We give ourselves away, through all of our brokenness, to others. That is life redeemed.
Henri Nouwen in his book, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World, writes, “Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life…all of our life.”
This was driven home in my all-time favorite movie, Of Gods and Men (2010). The movie is based on the story of a group of 8 French Cistercian Trappist monks living in harmony with their Muslim neighbors, caught up (and ultimately 7 were martyred) in Algeria in the 1996 civil war between the army and radicalized extremists. Toward the end of the movie, in what ends up being their last supper, they share a wordless meal, listening to the poignant sounds of Swan Lake, eating a simple supper, breaking bread, and drinking wine. They gaze around the table at each other, shedding tears as well as sharing smiles of love. It is one of the most intimate and moving scenes I’ve ever encountered. Without words, they communicate a depth of emotion and love that I imagine must have transpired during Jesus’ last supper.
My prayer for each of us today is that we take time, like the monks in the movie, to savor our dinner today, that we will gaze upon those around us with all the love in our hearts. May we find ways to give of ourselves today, redeeming all the brokenness in ourselves and in our world.
This season of COVID19 is teaching us is that community, especially the community of the church is real, and that each and every moment of life is a sacred gift, a taste of Easter that happens each and every day through our brokenness.
Taken, blessed, broken, given. ~ Pastor Anne