Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Day To Remember

Maundy Thursday. What the heck does that mean? It is the day Jesus commanded his followers to practice Holy Communion as an act of remembrance and connection with him. The primary setting of memory is the Upper Room and the Last Supper, however there is much more at the table than simply one night and one religious celebration.

The journey to Maundy Thursday began in the ancient times, a couple thousand years before Christ. The people of Israel were enslaved by the Egyptians for over 400 years. God had commanded Moses to lead the people to the promiseland. From captivity to freedom. The night before the journey is the Passover night, when God passed over the homes of the Israelites and struck the firstborn son of all the Egyptians. Once free from Egypt God commanded the people of Israel to have a Passover meal each year to remember the work of God in freeing them from slavery.

It was that very meal Jesus was sharing with the disciples in the Upper Room. The story would have been told of the journey from captivity. All the foods would have been shared along with the singing of all the songs. Yet Jesus, like with many things, put a twist to the long standing religious ritual. This was the night before he journeyed through death then back to life. Within Hours of this meal, Jesus would be going to the cross, so we could journey from captivity to freedom. The meal was a remembrance of years before, and a command for the years to come.

Today many people will let this day come and go with the thought that soon they will have a few days off from work, and we will dig into those little chocolate bunnies, or my favorite stale peeps. Even in the church we rush to the Cross of Good Friday, yet we do not spend time remembering. The ancient story and Jesus Story continue in us today. The gruesome reality of the cross is important only if we remember what the cross is about. We remember today the Body of Christ broken, and his blood shed so that we may move from captivity to sin and freedom in Christ.

Perhaps you will journey to a local church to remember with others at a service (Cortland UMC at 7pm), or maybe you will take time at the dinner table tonight with family. Possibly get together with a few others for dinner to remember and tell the stories of how God has moved you from captivity to freedom. Before we go to the cross we must remember the journey which has brought us to the cross.

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