I'm not sure if having a "favorite holy day" is the best way to put this, but - at least for the time being - Thursday of Holy Week ranks right up there for me; it's certainly as one of the most meaningful.
The official name for today is "Maundy Thursday"; and I can see right off that my spell check system has no clue about "Maundy", so it's going to continue to underline the word, in red, until I adjust the system protocol.
Unlike my computer's editing function, a lot of us don't even underline this day. Instead we let it slide by, unengaged. I believe that is a huge omission.
Maundy Thursday is wonderful, tragic, encouraging and difficult - all at the same time. It's wonderful because that's the day Jesus and his friends got together for one last meal. It's difficult because it's also the night Jesus was betrayed. Events had moved a long way from the high excitement of Palm Sunday and the big parade.
I like to think about Jesus and his friends reclining around the table. It's obvious that they all loved one-another. And my guess is that, despite restrictive social rules that invented inequities that God never would have imagined yet alone sanctioned, the gathering around that table included both men and women.
I'd also like to imagine complete honesty, sharing from
the deepest places of their souls, humility and vulnerability. Yet I'm well aware that other restrictions, the ones that we continue to impose on ourselves, likely kept even this group of friends from allowing themselves to be known beyond the extent of their ability to manage the spin.
I hope I'm wrong about that. Because it's in the presence of Jesus that the most complete freedom we can experience is made possible. In fact, the presence of Jesus calls from us far more than we otherwise have the capacity to offer; maybe that's why we leave him out of the conversation so often...?
so, this evening our church will gather in the fellowship hall to not only commemorate the Last Supper, but to partake of it as well. We'll be meeting in small groups, eating together at round tables that seat eight people. And then we'll stay right where we are - an elder assigned to each table - for a service of communion and worship.
My experience has been consistent at these events. (Picture: "communion" with the Dave Andrews family) Communion starts in the conversations we enjoy around the tables during the meal. We break bread together; we share our lives; we talk about what is on our hearts; we laugh and sometimes we cry. Then, when the bread and the wine are passed, we simply formalize the deeply spiritual experience we're already sharing.
Tonight I have the privilege of speaking for a few minutes, along with three others who have been asked to let a little of what is on their hearts spill over, so the whole church can be encouraged by our stories.
So, what is your Easter story? Do you have a small group where you can share what God's up to in your life and receive the encouragement we all need? Are you part of a faith-community where your journey is affirmed and your relationship with God renewed? Do your joy, your struggle, your tears and your honest doubt have a spiritual home?
Or, to simplify the question, is there a table you can come to, hosted by a Savior who will welcome?