22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 I assure you that I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way in God’s kingdom.” 26 After singing songs of praise, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
There’s a certain kind of magic to dinner tables. It’s a place to meet new people or get to know your loved ones even more. It’s a place where disagreements can be put aside, or they can erupt. It’s a place to share family traditions and culture or try out new culinary adventures. For me growing up, though the church was without a doubt essential for my faith development, I would argue that the majority of my theological perspectives were formed at the dinner table. Stick a pastor, a librarian and their two curious daughters at a table and deep discussion was never hard to find.
Have you ever been asked, “If you could have dinner with someone, living or dead, who would it be?” My answer for who I would share a meal with is usually an ancestor. Maybe a great-great grandfather so I could ask about their life in ministry. But I also always think: and what would we eat? Is there a family staple that they could share with me? Is there a meal I’m particularly proud of that I would want to share? Perhaps I’m overthinking the question, but whenever I’m asked, I always see myself in a heaven-like setting, sitting down with a familiar face in a clerical collar, breaking what has to be the most delicious bread ever made. Apparently, I’m not gluten-free in heaven.
There are many reasons why Jesus says He won’t drink anything between this breaking bread event and when He is in God’s kingdom, mostly having to do with sacrifice. Notice, that it is in fellowship where Jesus eats and drinks, and it is not until He is in fellowship again that He is willing to do so. Meals are where friendships are formed, where our faith can grow, and where stories remain alive. As we venture through this Holy Week, may we consider the power of sharing a meal (even virtually!) and how Christ is found in relationship.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
When was the last time you shared a meal with someone? Is it a regular occurrence for you or something that only happens occasionally? What sort of topics/feelings arose? What would it look like to intentionally invite Christ to a meal today?
Prayer: Relational God, you are present whenever two or more are gathered. You allowed your body to be broken and your blood shed so that we may be forgiven. May we not take this sacrifice lightly, and find reason to praise you every time a meal is shared. Amen.