Friday, April 6, 2007

Maundy Thursday Meal

Two nights ago we had our second attempt at a "Christian Seder" to commemorate Maundy Thursday. The Gospel of Luke is explicit about Jesus' Last Supper being a Passover meal, so it makes a certain amount of sense. And I like many things about it: the story itself, the involvement of the children who ask "the four questions", the symbolic foods, the connection to Jesus' Jewish roots.
But, for the second year in a row, I've been surprised and disturbed when we get to the part where we celebrate the Lord's Supper. Even with the words of institution, and the traditional food, and an elder at each table doing the breaking and pouring . . . as part of a hearty meal, the elements seem out of place. People are talking to their table mates and I wonder if they are paying attention. It's not as quiet as it is in worship, and there is no "mood music" to spur meditation.
I have to remind myself that all of that is much closer to what Jesus and the disciples experienced. No wonder they didn't quite remember every word the same. No wonder they went back to arguing with one another so soon. No wonder they received this great gift and then an hour later couldn't stay awake to pray with the Giver.
We don't get to say, "Wait, Jesus, I'm not ready to feel spiritual and to listen carefully to what you say." All we can do is try to rise to the occasion and hope we get it just a little bit right.

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