-Rev Melissa Fain-
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven. I tell you, I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Then, after singing songs of praise, they went to the Mount of Olives.
Matthew 26:26-30 CEB
People who create icons are practicing an art form and living into a spiritual discipline. Icons follow a set of rules. Icons are always painted on a solid wooden board. The wood grain must run vertical to connect heaven and earth. Specific biblical characters hold or wear specific clothes or items. Not everyone has a painted halo. The gesso is painted in layers, from the darkest color to the lightest.
Lent is the wooden board that connects us humans to the divine. Maundy Thursday through Holy Saturday are the first few layers of paint. The final painting will be a glorious image of redemption and light, but we must paint those dark colors first.
You might wonder what could be dark about the first communion. As part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we denominationally partake of communion on a weekly basis. Sometimes, it is an uplifting and happy event. This first communion might have started that way, but the moment Jesus compared the cup and bread to blood and body that joy was gone. This is the meal where friends were called out as being deniers and betrayers. Maybe they ended with songs of praise, but for a bit, it was a dark meal indeed.
I know it’s difficult to accept the darkness in a world where companies are painting easy answers and guaranteed happiness. These next few days are the darkest in the Lenten season. We might want to put this devotional aside and just wait it out until Easter Sunday.
Don’t. The new life of Easter cannot happen without the crucifixion and death of Christ. The bright colors and gold will be meaningless without the darkness. This is the path we must walk to truly understand the glory and light of Easter. Let’s paint those colors and find the glory of the finished picture in just a few days.
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As we take the bread and break it, help us understand the brokenness of your body.
As we take the cup, help us see the sacrifice of your blood.