And as they were eating, he took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them and said, "Take; this is my body." And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank it. And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
This piece comes from "Reliving the Passion" by Walter Wangerin Jr.
"The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed -
When is a mother more inclined to cuddle her children? When they are a nasty, insolent brood, disobedient and disrespectful of her motherhood? Or when they are cuddly?
When will a father likelier give good gifts to his children? When they've just ruined the previous gift, by negligence or by downright wickedness? When they are sullen and self-absorbed? Or when they manifest genuine goodness and self-responsibility?
But the love of Jesus is utterly unaccountable - except that he is God and God is love. It has no cause in us. It reacts to, or repays, or rewards just nothing in us. It is beyond human measure, beyond human comprehension. It takes my breath away.
For when did Jesus choose to give us the supernal, enduring gift of his presence, his cuddling, his dear communing with us? When we were worthy of the gift, good people indeed? Hardly. It was precisely when we were most unworthy. When our wickedness was directed particularly at him.
Listen, children: it was to the insolent and the hateful that he gave his gift of personal love.
"As they were eating, he took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them and said -"
When the apostle Paul the pastor repeats: The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. Oh, let that pastor murmur those words, the same night, with awe. For who among us can hear them just before receiving the gift of Christ's intimacy and not be overcome with wonder, stunned at such astonishing love? The context qualifies that love. The time defines it. And ever and ever again, these words remind us of the times: The same night in which he was betrayed -
"While we were still weak," say Paul, "at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." Not for the godly and the good, but "while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Then! That same night! When absolutely nothing recommended us. When "we were enemies." Enemies! In the night of gravest human treachery he gave the gift of himself. And the giving has never ceased. The holy communion continues today.
But in that same night he remembered our need. In that same night he provided the sacrament which would forever contain his grace and touch his comfort into us.
Oh, this a a love past human expectation. This is beyond all human deserving. This, therefore, is a love so celestial that it shall endure long and longer than we do.
This is grace."
Father may the truth of this not just sit on the edges of my heart, but sink down deep, fill every hole, crack and crevice. May it color everything I say and do.
I'm taking a wee blogging break this week. May you experience God's love for you in a fresh way this Easter. May you experience his amazing, unconditional, unmerited, available love for you as you draw near to him.
Grace and Peace