Lenten Meditation SIX

Changing The Passover Into The Lord’s Supper.

Being released from the slavery of Sin – to serve Christ in the world he came to save.

Lent Reflection “The Institution of the Lords Supper”

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.” ( John 6:32)

“And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.” ( Luke 22:19,20).

For forty years God sustained the people in the wilderness, with the bread of heaven. He gave them water from the rock.

Deuteronomy 8:1-5

1Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. 2Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 

3He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.  5Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.”

Lent is a spiritual re-enactment of the forty years in the Wilderness. It is an acknowledgement (expressed with prayer, scripture reading and fasting) that “Man does not live on bread alone.” It is a reminder that Jesus followed the same path as the people of Israel and that it is our path too. We too must accept the Lord’s Discipline. We must also accept the lords leading

Exodus 13: 21And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

And we must follow the lead that God gives us, we must be disciplined!

  • We must be disciplined in prayer,
  • disciplined in scripture reading,
  • disciplined in study of God’s word,
  • disciplined in almsgiving,
  • disciplined in giving for the work of the spread of the Gospel, 
  • disciplined in fellowship and hospitality,
  • disciplined in upholding the standards of Christian marriage.

We are disciples of Jesus Christ not merely adherents to a faith. We are not simply believers – we are doers. And we live -led by God and sustained by God.

We are sustained by every word of the mouth of God. Each day we are to commit to Christ Jesus, and we are not to live in the past nor the future (they collected enough manna only for each day, not too much and not too little) God’s grace is new every morning.

Read the account again – (Exodus 16 vs 11 onwards)

I am amazed by this event – they went out and gathered and those who gathered much, only got what they needed and those who gathered little had enough. God’s provision is by his Grace and not by our works – there is this consistent theme throughout scripture that God works in the lives of those with great faith and those with only a little, those who believe and those who doubt, those who understand and those who don’t. Men, women and children, Jews, Samaritans and Greeks. Lepers, and lame and blind people, fishermen and Zealots and bridesmaids – Jesus is at work in us all, according to his riches in glory (Phil 4:19).

God’s grace given through Jesus Christ is sufficient for you, he does not show favoritism, (Romans 2:11) he does not give some in abundance and some insufficient, as the world gives; he gives according to your need. (John 14:27)

Jesus took the foot – washing water at the wedding of Cana and turned it into a fine wine. He took the foot washing at the last supper and turned it into an anointing of his Disciples. A reminder that life gets messy -but that repentance (foot washing) and the act of humility makes a fine wine!

The final and great transition of mind and heart (that we will reflect on this Lent) is to embrace the new Body that Christ gives us and that we partake in. Our lives are sustained by the love of God, the mercy of God and the fellowship with God through the power of God’s Spirit. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in us. (Rom 8:11) It is that Spirit of Jesus, that empowers us to resist temptation, stand up against giants, shut the mouths of lions and endure the fiery serpents of this life.

But we need to go out every day and be obedient – we need to “collect the manna” do what God asks us to do each day.

We are to live in the Spirit of the Eucharist and live out the liturgy daily and then on Sunday or as often as we are able – celebrate it in the sacrament.

“The bread which we break is it not the body of Christ? We who are many are one body for we all partake of the one bread.”

We are the body of Christ, it is us that is taken and broken and given for the salvation of the world.

There is a lovely old custom that when the church was the church was practiced at Eucharist services. As you came into the church you would dip your finger in the water of Baptism and sign your head with a cross – acknowledging that Baptism is not the rite of a moment but the principal of a lifetime, you would then take the bread and place it in the Ciborium – so when it was taken forward to the altar – you were represented in it – you participated in the consecration – it is you that is being consecrated and  blessed and broken and given.

I attended an NG KERK service where you were given you piece of Bread – as you came in and you sat with it all the way through the service until it was time to partake – maybe for them this means the same.

The Greek word anamnesis is translated in our prayer book as “in remembrance” – but a better translation is “in participation with” – you would have heard me speak about remembrance meaning to “make a member again” – each time we share in the Lord’s supper we are made members again of the body of Christ. We are reminded, another lovely word to “be minded again” – given a new mind – Our purpose is redefined, reignited, we are recommitted.

We call the celebration of the Last Supper the Great Thanksgiving as we give thanks to God for what he has achieved through Christ and what he includes us in. Every time we gather and break bread we   “are set free from Egypt” again, we cross the red sea and endure the wilderness, we enter the promised land of God’s love and receive his forgiveness of Sins, we die with him and are raised with him, and now we live and reign with him and lay down our majesty to serve the world. We are given a new mind – the mind of Christ. St Paul exhorted us to:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,  (Phil 4: 5-7)

Go and take a piece of the body….

I love our custom and the wafers that we use  –

We create a throne for Jesus with our Hands

And we place the wafer in our hand and in so doing so we receive the wounds of Christ the nail marks in our hands. We are not worthy to receive them but we are counted worthy to share in the life of Jesus.

We rush this and for that I apologize for we should be give the time to gaze in wonder and reflect on what the whole story of Jesus means to us in this moment…

As we receive God’s transforming love, I want to add a thought about the passover, the manna and the bread…

On the seventh day they did no work but celebrated the fact that God sustains us – for too many in the Church today Sunday is seen as the day that we obediently, come and collect the manna – draw on the sustaining  love of God. Whereas, on Sunday we should be bringing the week that we have lived and we lay that at the altar and see that what we are feeding on in bread and wine as a product of what we have collected in His name during the week ( Don’t misunderstand me we cannot work for it or earn it – we simply receive what God has given)  –

but follow the analogy – they didn’t collect on the sabbath and live off it through the  week, as so many Christians do – they were obedient all week and on the Sabbath rested in the mercy and love and peace and glory of God. Have I collected in prayer and obedience, have a gathered what God is teaching me, have I gathered what I am seeing in the world and responded in compassion and with grace – this bread that we bring this bread that we break – is it a sanitized, gift from God   or is it the life that we have committed to Him and received from Him.

The cup from which we drink – is it the cup of repentance – the water turned to wine…. Or have we sanitized it?

Made it a ritual – This ritual, this ceremony this participation is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us it is the saving act of Jesus Christ.

At this Passover Jesus took a religious ceremony and transformed it into a life-giving spirit filled encounter with the living God –

Maybe you could make the mindset shift  too – to see that each week you bring your life and repent – reorder your hearts and minds, have your feet washed, lay your life on the altar and are reconsecrated, and you take up your life again  as you are blessed and broken and given, by God – to the  world that He sent his body to save.

Before He was given up to suffering and death, recalling the night of Israel’s release when slaves walked free, at supper with His disciples, Jesus took bread and offered you thanks.   He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat.  This is my Body: it is broken for you.” 

After supper, He took the cup, He offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying:

“Drink this, all of you.  This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven.  Do this to remember me.”

We who are many are one body for we all partake of the one bread!

Author: admin

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