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Who am I?

Maundy Thursday

March 28, 2024

Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.

11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand, and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the Passover of the Lord. 12 I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human to animal, and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-32

11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand, and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the Passover of the Lord. 12 I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human to animal, and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

 

The Passover meal is a significant ritual for the Israelites mentioned in Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14, holds a potent symbolism, and serves as a powerful reminder of God's unfailing faithfulness towards the chosen people and their constant need for salvation from Egypt. It is a time for them to remember the hardships they faced in Egypt and the miraculous events that led to their freedom. The meal itself involves symbolic foods and specific rituals that are meant to remind the Israelites of their ancestors' experiences. Jesus followed this same tradition, and the Last Supper that Paul speaks about in 1 Corinthians took place during this Passover custom. Significant in its own right, the sacrament that Jesus introduced that evening reminds us of God's unfailing faithfulness and our salvation from sin and death.

 

The act of breaking bread and sharing the cup, just as Jesus did with his disciples during the Last Supper, is a sacred practice of our Christian faith. It is a remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice as well as a celebration of his resurrection. This sacrament symbolizes the body and blood of Jesus Christ. When Paul writes about the Last Supper, he instructs the Corinthian church on how to participate in this sacred act. He writes about the significance of remembering what Christ has done and continues to do for us when we eat the bread and drink the cup. He tells the church that by partaking in this sacrament, we symbolically share Christ's body and blood and are strengthened in our faith through this remembrance.

 

Additionally, the connection between the Israelite Passover meal and the Last Supper reminds us of the continuity of a faithful God between the Old and New Testaments. In the same way, Jesus taught that he didn’t come to abolish the law God gave to Moses; he came to fulfill it. The new covenant that Jesus instituted that faithful night reminds us that we are connected to those ancient Israelites; we are children of the living God. Even more, when we participate in the act of receiving communion, it is not just a mere ritual or a symbolic gesture; it is a profoundly personal and meaningful connection to one another as much as it is to Christ. Accepting communion is all about acknowledging our imperfections and recognizing our need for redemption. It is a reminder of the love and sacrifice that God has shown towards us through his son, Jesus Christ. By partaking in this sacrament, we are symbolically renewing and strengthening our faith in the new covenant that Jesus established through his death and resurrection. And yet, we, the body of Christ, are brought closer together at the same time.

 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not only encouraged to participate in the sacrament of communion but also called to invite others to demonstrate their faith in Christ. This invitation is one put forth by example. It requires us to be shining examples of love, kindness, and empathy to our fellow human beings while also advocating for fairness and righteousness. As Christians, our mission is not just to inwardly reflect the character of Christ but to actively share and spread His love and compassion throughout the world. If we are the body of Chris, we must reflect the light of Christ.

 

The apostle Paul's instruction to the Corinthian church regarding the Lord's Supper recounts the words of Jesus during the Last Supper and instructs the Corinthians to partake of the bread and cup in remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice. Paul also warns them to examine themselves before partaking so as not to eat and drink judgment upon themselves. So, we must consider Paul's warning regarding the significance of taking communion worthily. Worthily taking communion means approaching the table with a heart that is free from unconfessed sin, with a spirit of humility and gratitude, and with a genuine faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is crucial because the act of communion is meant to be a sacred and significant moment of remembrance and spiritual nourishment for believers. As we prepare to receive the sacrament, we must prayerfully reflect on the reasons behind our decision to do so. In that sacred moment, we hope to draw closer to God and further deepen our faith so that we may continue to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. When we partake in communion, we honor Christ's sacrifice, reaffirm our commitment to Him, and enjoy the blessings of a right relationship with our triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

Now, I invite you to close your eyes and contemplate the actions that took place 2000 years ago. Contemplate the actions of your life, the confessions you have given, the repentance you have had, and the blessing that God has given without asking. Clear your mind and open your heart. Ask yourself, “Who am I that I would get up and take communion?” “Who am I that Christ would do all he did for me?” “Who am I” that God would love me so much that I could receive God’s grace, a gift so unique that it would change my life forever?”

 

When the invitation to the table is given, no matter where you may be, I hope you realize that the answer to all of those questions is the same. You are a child of the living God, creator of heaven and earth, who loves you more than you will ever know. The invitation is free, the gift of salvation is free, and the love of Christ is everlasting.

 

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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