26 While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the[d] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
30 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
For many of us, communion is one of the most memorable rituals we participate in as Christians. This important direct understanding imparted to the disciples for me is akin to when a friend disclosed to us that they were terminally ill. That realization that you have a finite amount of time left can be a huge blow to the group. Jesus had been signaling the coming moment for a while and I have to believe his closest loved ones could feel the coming moment with the many summative teachings that occured between the triumphal entry and the last supper. Jesus knows that this will be difficult for them to continue the work and offers this ritual as a way to memorialize the important sacrifice for our salvation. It not only acknowledges what is going to happen, but gives a way for them to keep the memory, and the mission, in perspective. It also gives hope; the understanding that when our struggles are over we will be together again. Here in this tragic moment of revelation, Jesus is still caring and equipping others.
As you pray this Maundy Thursday where many of us take communion at noon and mediate on the last supper as we prepare for Good Friday, let us remember the sacrifice that was made for us. That our sins are forgiven by the sacrifice that was made when God came into flesh and died that we may better know how to live. Pray for forgiveness, pray in thanks to God, and pray that you may be in a place of care and love for others even in the midst of your own struggles. That great capacity for love that we all have access to in Christ.