This post is for the Via Crucis 2007 grid blog. Follow along this Holy Week with us as we blog through the Passion of Christ. The link is at viacrucis2007.org
Pass It Around
He’d leave us soon. We tried not to think of it as we followed Him, but you could tell He was between Heaven and Earth. He’d said as much. I saw in Him a kind of love-broken weariness, and it reminded me of how the poet prophet Isaiah described Him: looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain first-hand.
He’d set the table, and we sat in the upper room, preparing for the feast. We were tired, and hungry, but glad to be with Jesus. The pungent scent of roasted lamb and bitter herbs rose like incense in the room. Night, as thick and palpable as fog, surrounded the house. The flames on the candles He lit bowed and rose in the breezy room, as if they too, worshiped Him.
He said to each of us, “Give me your feet.”
We grew silent, each of us removing our sandals.
I watch Him move across the room, dressed in the garment of a slave. Dear God, Jesus is on His knees, pouring water on our feet. The Son of God, the Son of Man, washing us as if the pitcher contained, then released His own tears, slipping between our toes, the filth of the world falling to the ground, now hallowed by His presence.
He sure knows how to make a mess of things.
I whispered to Him, “Thank you, Jesus.” Hot salty tears rolled from my cheeks, and mingled with Jesus’ hand when he reaches up to wipe my face.
"Master, let me wash yours." He refuses me.
“What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will after this,” He says to me.
He cleanses us all, every one of us, even the one who would betray Him.
“Do you understand what I have done to you?” His brown eyes shone in the candlelight. “You address me as ‘Teacher’, ‘Master’, and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher washed your feet, you must now wash each others feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. A servant is not ranked above His master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.”
Act like it, and live a blessed life.
He makes things so simple. But we didn't act like it. He told us to love one another. We didn't know how.
When it was time to sit down, all of us with him He said, "You have no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It's the last one I'll eat until we all eat together in the kingdom of God."
We don't like to hear Him talk this way. I want to protest, but His eyes halt my cries. He takes His cup filled with wine. He blesses it. And this is a wonder, a mystery that I'll ponder for the rest of my life, and maybe the one to come--that single cup in His hand. His simple prayer. And these words as He passes it around.
"Take this and pass it among you. As for me, I'll not drink wine again until the kingdom of God arrives."
He takes bread. Does the same. A single loaf. We'd seen Him make enough to feed thousands to from just three loaves, and now He takes His own singular offering. Whispers blessings. "This is my body, given for you. Eat it in my memory."
He's talking crazy again, I think. He is sick to death. Full of sadness. I didn't know. There are many days, even know, when I still act like I don't know.
We eat in silence. After the meal He takes the cup again. He blesses it. "This cup is the new covenant written in blood, blood poured out for you."
He sets off a storm of bickering among us. Who will betray Him? Who will sit with Him in His kingdom? Oh, but we had it all wrong. We had no idea what would come. Broken bread and bittersweet wine poured out, poured out, poured out. One small broken loaf of bread. All that wine spilled. For us? Expensive bread. Priceless wine. Broken, bread and spilled wine. Blessed by a GodMan who washes feet while He's dressed like a slave. Who tells us to love each other like He's shown us. He tells us to serve one another. Who can understand it?
Even now, in my old age, I cannot fully fathom the mystery of it all. I don't even try. He's gone from us now. I only meet Him in quiet places. In silence. In prayer. At this table. I keep coming to the table. Hungry for Him. Thirsty for Him. Always listening for His voice. His whispered blessings over the meal. I keep trying, failing, and trying again to take it to heart. To do it.
Take this, pass it among you.
This is my Body.
This is my Blood.
I am greedy for Him now. I wish I understood. I wish. No matter. It still nourishes just the same. All I have to do is partake and hand it over. Try to do it with all the love I can muster.
Take this. Eat it. Drink it.
Pass it around.
All scripture quoted from The Message