When it was evening, Jesus took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?”…. 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.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Matthew 26:20-22, 26-28
Table conversations can be very important and at this Passover table the world changed. The talk was of betrayal and denial followed by the blessing of bread and wine that would later become a sacrament in the Christian community. It was suppose to be a normal Passover meal, but the tensions in Jerusalem that week were running high and the disciples were finally beginning to understand that there was serious trouble ahead.
In this simple act of breaking and blessing bread and sharing a cup of wine Jesus gives us a way of remembering him. He takes the common and turns it into something special. He opens up God’s promise of a new covenant and shows us how his life, death and resurrection are part of that promise. He becomes the host at the table serving his disciples and showing us that his table is for everyone. And it is at this table, even during that Passover meal, that we begin to understand the greatness of the love that Jesus had for each person around the table than and today.
Hartmut Handt of Germany United Methodist Church has written:
Lord, give us bread that feeds us,
Lord, give us drink that heals;
Lord, speak the word that cheers us,
Lord, grant us life that endures.
You are the bread that feeds us,
you are the drink that heals;
you are the word that cheers us,
Lord, you’re the life that endures.
Lord, we come today with a heavy heart asking forgiveness for those times that we have denied or betrayed you by not showing love to all people as Jesus did. Help each of us to remember his radical hospitality that invites everyone to his table. May the act of communion with its table conversations, always feed and heal us. Amen
Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.