-Rev Melissa Fain-
The first Communion. It is a meal that has been discussed, explored, shared, acted and pantomimed out trillions of times over the centuries. The symbolism is easy enough for a child to understand, while complex enough for sages to write books upon books of what it means. The rich cultural understandings of Communion are all rooted in Maundy Thursday.
What is Maundy Thursday? (I just assumed some of the readers would be asking.) Maundy Thursday always takes place the Thursday before Easter. If we put the timeline together from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection, the first Communion takes place on that Thursday before Jesus is crucified. Maundy is one of those Latin holdovers. The closest word we English speakers have is "mandate." Since this is also the day Jesus washed the Disciple's feet, we are given a mandate to serve the world as Christ has served us.
Like I wrote so many years ago, there are tensions we should keep at the Communion table. Our experience should sing, so to speak. I compared these tensions to guitar strings. Both sides have to pull against one another or it is all mess. While there are many tensions I can discuss, here's the one I want you to take with you today.
We are called to be served, and to serve others.
Maundy Thursday should be a reminder that one of our focuses should be on being served and serving others. We are called to the table while we are also purposefully repelled from it. Being pushed from the table should lead us to service to others. Both of these actions create a beautiful tension that will help us through Holy Week. How are you letting Christ serve you this week? How are you serving others in return?