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The Ceremonial Meal of the Chosen One 

A Lent Reflection for Maundy Thursday, March 28 by Jennifer Andersson

Lectionary reading for 03/28/24: Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14  •  Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19  •  1 Corinthians 11:23-26  •  John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Selected passage for reflection: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26


Read

1 Corinthians 11:23-26  First Nations Version

The Ceremonial Meal of the Chosen One 

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (NIV)


Reflect

It was a spring camping trip in 1988 when my closest college friends and I found ourselves on the dunes of southwest Michigan, overlooking the expansive beauty along the great lake. We were having such fun - hearts open - celebrating life and friendship, and taking in the glory of God through the creation that surrounded us. In the midst of it, one of us said, “Hey, we should have Communion together. Right here. Right now.” We were young 20-somethings. We all believed in and had working relationships with the Holy. But we didn’t have credentials. We didn’t have grape juice. We didn’t have bread. What we had in a backpack was a bag of Doritos and a can of Coca Cola. Still, we felt the nudge to share in this Holy ritual; to share in prayer; to say “yes” to the invitation to be vulnerable and grateful; and to do it together. So we did just that, right there - with Doritos and Coca Cola - and each of us communed with one another, and with God, in one of the most memorable Lord’s Supper of my life. 


Perhaps the ritual of The Great Thanksgiving is something that holds treasured intimacy with God for you? Perhaps it holds shame from a misplaced sense of judgment? Perhaps it has simply become a rote ritual? Perhaps a measure of each of these is true? I have come to believe that when the Holy speaks, it is invitational. As you consider and hear these oft spoken words, consider them as a fresh invitation. Though they are a prayer addressed to God, remain open to what might be offered to you as well. 


This prayer is the second of four ritual actions for the Lord's Supper that are modeled on the actions of Jesus on the night of his last meal with the disciples and on his actions at the table in Emmaus. The actions are: take (preparing the bread and cup); bless (giving thanks over the bread and cup); break (breaking the single loaf of bread and raising the cup); and give (the bread and cup are given to the people). Simply stated, the first part of the prayer blesses God, the second recalls Jesus, and the third part invokes the Holy Spirit.


Respond

Let us use these words as a prayer and invitation today. Have an edible element and a cup of liquid with you. Breathe In. Breathe Out. When you are ready, move through the words of this sacred ritual, offering them as a prayer to your Creator, and remain open to how you might also be guided in each action:


  • Take - what are you preparing, or the Spirit is preparing in you, to offer as representation of love to God and to others?

  • Bless - what do you give thanks for this day, at this time, 

  • Break - what might be “breaking” in you that The One Who Loves You is “breaking open” to offer new life and healing? 

  • Give -  what might the Spirit be bringing forth in you in this moment that can be a gift of nourishment for yourself and perhaps for others? 


Rest

Gracious Giver of Life, these words you have given us are more than a retelling of a story. May they unite me with You in a new way. May I sense your Spirit within as you guide me. And may I find a unique communion with all your saints - past, present, and future - as we journey with you and with each other. Amen.


About the Author

In her work life, Jennifer finds expression as a spiritual director, retreat leader, pastor, clinical social worker, advocate, and most especially, beloved child of God. In April of 2023, Jennifer opened the “doors” of Journey Center of Michigan to make space for meeting people where they are on their spiritual journey, especially for those who don’t or can’t find expression in traditional settings. Through it all, she loves to discover and expand her understanding and experience of God through relationship, creation, music, nature, and creative expression.

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