READINGOld Testament: Lamentations 2:10-18
Psalms: Psalms 102, 142, 143
New Testament: 1 Corinthians 10:14-17, 11:27-32
Gospel: Mark 14:12-25
Evening Psalms: 142143
DEVOTIONAL“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them.” (Mark 14:22-24)
Christmases spent in Denver were very special. Two years after I moved there, my parents decided to fly west for the holidays. It was a great joy! One of my fondest memories is Christmas Eve. It was a day filled with anticipation and ended in the celebration of Christ’s birth. I spent the day preparing a meal to be shared with my parents and other friends who were in Denver without their families. I jokingly called them “The Strays.”
It wasn’t a five course meal; instead, it was simple. The main course was soup accompanied by a salad and dessert. Additionally, the table was set with my French china and candles, and Christmas music by the Kings College choir set the mood. As we sat around the table, we shared personal stories, laughter, and happiness. The evening culminated sitting in church celebrating the birth of Christ with those I loved.
In contrast to my Christmas meal, the meal Jesus shared with His disciples was very different. It is easy for me to imagine their meal beginning as a cozy little gathering enjoyed by a group of spiritually grounded, holy, introverts sharing personal stories and pondering the world around them. However, unlike my meal, which was dedicated to family and fellowship and followed by a celebration of Christ’s birth, His meal ended with affirming His imminent death. Worse, His disciples learned that one of them would betray Him to that death. Yet, despite what lay ahead, Jesus took time to prepare the disciples for His departure and to give them the gift of Holy Communion.
While my Christmas dinner and the Last Supper were different in many ways, the common thread was the power of love. In 1 Corinthians, Paul emphasizes gifts we have been given: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.
Heavenly Father, I pray that Holy Communion may continue to energize and sustain me. May it enable me to fulfill Jesus’ command, to love others. Amen.