February 2, 2020
When we gather at our family dinner tables, stories become part of the meal. Stories about what happened that day. Stories about what happened to each family member. Stories of relationships between family members. I clearly remember certain meals we had around our dinner table. There were times when I could always get milk to come out of my sister Lisa’s nose. I remember coming in late after football practice and my mother would have a hot bowl of pinto beans, a couple of pork chops, hot cornbread, a nice white onion cut up, and a big cold glass of milk waiting on me. But, sitting there alone, after everyone else had finished, just wasn’t the same. Family was missing.
The mood in the Upper Room was somber that night. The Disciples were gathering for a traditional observance of Passover around their dinner table. Jesus was an observant Jew. He held the traditions of the Jewish faith, while inserting new traditions that, at that time, only He understood. That would happen this night, Jesus would establish the New Covenant with us, the Body of Christ, the Church.
The Disciples were gathering for Passover. They were gathering as friends with their Master and Teacher, Jesus. They were gathering as Family. They were gathering to follow the traditions of their ancestors. Traditions that had been followed and observed for thousands of years. They were to remember the first Passover, when Moses led the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt to freedom. Very little did they know, in fact, they didn’t know at all, what the significance of that night would come to be. Even more so, they had no idea that we would gather here today, around this Altar, to receive Holy Communion, in the presence of Jesus Christ, as Family, just as they did. Don’t get the wrong idea, we don’t gather to remember what the Disciples did. We gather to remember what Jesus Christ did for us; establishing the New Covenant in His blood. We gather here today to kneel at the Altar and meet our Lord and Savior in Holy Communion. He waits for us here.
In the Passover meal, the present-day Jews remember not only who they were, but who they are. In the Jewish Passover Feast, after the tables is prepared and all is ready for the meal, the youngest child asks, “Why is this night special above all other nights?” The father replies by telling the ancient story of Israel’s deliverance during the first Passover.
In the Old Testament, the Old Covenant, the First Covenant, God made a Covenant with Abraham. He told Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. (Genesis 17) Verse 5 says, “I have made you a father of many nations.” God’s statement is in the past tense, remember, God is not confined by time as we know it. When He says something, it is already in existence.
In the New Testament, the New Covenant, Jesus makes a Covenant with us as He says, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” He is calling us to gather around the Altar as Family. Christ calls us to Fellowship, to Communion, to a Relationship with Him. He awaits our arrival. I’m not sure that Paul had completely grasped the significance of what happened in that room that night. But, I pray to God that you understand the significance of what we do here today.
Jesus said, “Do this in Remembrance of Me.” Do we do that? Do we remember the significance of the Last Supper?” Do we drink in all He offers us? Do we understand, grasp, the significance of the Blood on the Cross? Have you grasped the power of the Cross? Have you incorporated the Power of the Cross into your life?
Today as we gather at the Altar we should be preparing ourselves to be in the presence of Christ. “Certainly, Jesus is always and everywhere present in the world. But, He is particularly, intimately present to us and with us in Holy Communion” (Sunday Dinner p 32) Today as you approach the Altar, do as Christ commands us, do it in Remembrance of Him. And as you come, be very aware of your Church family around you. Be aware of your family and know that you are part of their “Dinner Stories.” Be aware that your family kneels with you at the Altar… and that you are loved.