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MARK 14:12-25 | NO NEED TO BRING YOUR OWN BREAD / MAUNDY THURSDAY

NO NEED TO BRING YOUR OWN BREAD

MARK 14:12-25

APRIL 13, 2017

MAUNDY THURSDAY

 

 

 

RECENTLY, I ATTENDED A SESSION MEETING AS AN OBSERVER ON BEHALF OF PRESBYTERY.

 

LIKE MOST SESSION MEETINGS THIS ONE BEGAN WITH PRAYER AND THE OFFERING OF A DEVOTION BY ONE OF THE ELDERS.

 

THE ELDER HAD CHOSEN FOR HIS DEVOTION SOMETHING HE HAD READ FROM GUIDEPOST MAGAZINE ABOUT MODERN DAY VISITORS TO THE UPPER ROOM IN JERUSALEM.

 

TOURISTS, PILGRIMS, PEOPLE VISITING THE HOLY LANDS, MAY VISIT THE PURPORTED SITE OF THE UPPER ROOM, AND THERE ENGAGE IN A TIME OF PRAYER OR SIGHTSEEING OR WHATEVER.

 

THE AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW BARE, HOW EMPTY THE ROOM WAS, EXCEPT FOR THE PEOPLE VISITING.

 

THERE ARE NO FURNISHINGS; NO ICONS; NO PICTURES ON THE WALL; NOTHING – THE ROOM IS EMPTY EXCEPT FOR THE PEOPLE IN IT.

 

BUT AS SHE REMAINED IN THE ROOM SHE NOTICED THAT GROUPS OF PILGRIMS, BEGAN TO BREAK OUT THEIR OWN SUPPLIES.

 

SOME BROKE OUT BIBLES AND BEGAN READING THIS PASSAGE WE READ A MOMENT AGO.  OTHERS BROUGHT OUT PRAYER CLOTHS, TOUCHING THEM TO VARIOUS PARTS OF THE ROOM, AS TO RECEIVE A BLESSING ON THEM.

 

VARIOUS GROUPS HAD BROUGHT THEIR OWN COMMUNION ELEMENTS TO PARTAKE OF COMMUNION IN THE ROOM WHERE JESUS IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE CELEBRATED THE FIRST LORD’S SUPPER.

 

YOU CAN SEE WHY THEY WOULD WANT TO DO IT.  TO DO SOMETHING CHRIST HIMSELF HAD DONE IN THE VERY SAME PLACE THOUSANDS OF YEARS BEFORE.

 

EVEN THE CURRENT POPE RECENTLY VISITED THE UPPER ROOM AND CELEBRATED MASS THERE, WITH THOSE WHO WERE WITH HIM.

 

I MUST BE HONEST – THE REASON I WAS AN OBSERVER TO THIS SESSION MEETING IS THAT THIS IS A CHURCH IN TROUBLE, AND I WAS THERE AS PART OF THE GROUP FROM PRESBYTERY TRYING TO HELP.

 

TENSIONS WERE HIGH; PARANOIA WAS RAMPANT; THE RECEPTION OF OUR GROUP WAS RATHER ICY ON THE PART OF THE MINISTER, AND SOME OF THOSE WHO HAD ALIGNED THEMSELVES WITH HIM.  NEITHER HE, NOR THEY, WOULD EVEN SPEAK TO US.

 

I TELL YOU THAT, TO TELL YOU THIS: I WAS ONLY HALF LISTENING TO THE DEVOTION, THOUGH I WAS TRYING, SO IT’S POSSIBLE THAT I CAME AWAY WITH THE WRONG MESSAGE.

 

BUT WHAT I THINK I HEARD THE AUTHOR SAY, OUT OF HER EXPERIENCE IN THE UPPER ROOM, IS THAT WE MUST BRING NOT ONLY OURSELVES, BUT OUR OWN SUPPLIES INTO THE UPPER ROOM, IF WE ARE TO REALLY GET ANYTHING OUT OF IT.

 

THE ROOM IS EMPTY – WE MUST BYOB – BRING YOUR OWN BREAD; WITH THE INFERENCE BEING – GOD IS HERE – BUT IT’S WHAT WE BRING TO OUR WORSHIP, TO CHURCH, TO GOD, THAT MATTERS; THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

 

AND IN PART, I DO BELIEVE THAT; BUT AT THE SAME TIME, AND AGAIN, CONFESSING THAT I WAS ONLY LISTENING PART WAY, IN MY HEAD I WAS THINKING:

 

“NO, WE DON’T; WE DON’T HAVE TO BYOB – BRING YOUR OWN BREAD – BECAUSE THE BREAD OF LIFE – AND THE CUP OF THE NEW COVENANT – ARE ALREADY HERE!

 

CHRIST IS ALREADY HERE!  THE SACRIFICE HAS BEEN MADE!  CHRIST HAS DONE HIS PART!  THE HOLY SPIRIT IS PRESENT – HERE AND EVERYWHERE.

 

SO, YES, WE NEED TO BRING OURSELVES; OUR WORSHIP; OUR SERVICE IN CHRIST’S NAME; OUR ALL; OUR EVERYTHING; BUT THE BREAD, THE CUP, THEY’VE ALREADY BEEN SUPPLIED.

 

IN FACT, IT IS PRECISELY BECAUSE OF WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE, THAT ALL OF US ARE HERE TONIGHT!  CHRIST ACTED; WE ARE REACTING!

 

CHRIST HAS OFFERED US GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE; WE ARE SIMPLY OPENING OUR HANDS, OUR HEARTS, OUR LIVES, AND RECEIVING WHAT’S BEEN GIVEN US.

 

THIS “LAST SUPPER” JESUS SHARES WITH HIS DISCIPLES IN HIS EARTHLY LIFE HAPPENS IN THREE STAGES:

 

  • THERE IS THE PREPARATION; THE GETTING THE ROOM AND THE TABLE READY;

 

  • THERE IS A DIALOGUE BETWEEN JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES ABOUT WHO WILL BETRAY HIM, AND THE INTIMACY, THE CLOSENESS OF THE ONE(S) WHO WILL BETRAY HIM –

 

“IT IS ONE OF THE TWELVE, THE ONE WHO IS DIPPING BREAD INTO THE BOWL WITH ME…” BUT REALLY, IT IS MORE THAN ONE;

 

  • BECAUSE, AS IT TURNS OUT, WHILE IT IS JUDAS WHO BETRAYS JESUS; IT IS PETER WHO DENIES HIM; AND ALL OF THEM, WHO DESERT HIM.

 

  • THE FINAL STAGE OF THE LAST SUPPER, THE SCENE DEPICTED IN OUR PASSAGE THIS EVENING, IS JESUS’ MONOLOGUE BY WHICH HE NOT ONLY ESTABLISHES THE LORD’S SUPPER, BUT OFFERS THE DISCIPLES, US, THE WORLD, A NEW COVENANT WITH GOD;

 

A NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THROUGH JESUS, THROUGH THE SON OF GOD.

 

THE REVEREND TOM LONG TELLS OF VISITING A CHAPEL INSIDE ONE OF THE GREAT CATHEDRALS OF EUROPE.  THE CHAPEL IS OFF TO ONE SIDE AND HAS BEEN SET UP TO RESEMBLE THE UPPER ROOM – SORT OF.

 

THERE ARE TWELVE CHAIRS ARRANGED IN A SEMI-CIRCLE IN FRONT OF A LARGER-THAN-LIFE PORTRAIT OF JESUS BREAKING BREAD.

 

VISITORS ARE FREE TO SIT IN THE CHAIRS FOR A TIME OF PRAYER AND MEDITATION.

 

EACH CHAIR IS ADORNED WITH A SMALL PLAQUE BEARING THE NAME OF ONE OF THE TWELVE DISCIPLES.

 

DURING HIS VISIT, DR. LONG NOTED THAT ONE OF THE CHAIRS IS MORE WORN THAN THE OTHERS; THE FINISH RUBBED OFF THE SEAT, THE ARMS OF THE CHAIR RUBBED BARE, THE BACKREST ALMOST COMPLETELY UNVARNISHED FROM WEAR;

 

WHEN DR. LONG GOT CLOSE ENOUGH TO READ THE PLAQUE, IT WAS JUDAS’ CHAIR!

 

VISITORS, PILGRIMS, BELIEVERS, EVIDENTLY FEELING THIS WAS THE CHAIR THAT MOST NEARLY REPRESENTED THEIR LIFE, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.

 

AS I SAID A MOMENT AGO, IT COULD HAVE BEEN ANY OF THE CHAIRS, JUDAS’, PETER’S, ANY OF THEM;

 

BUT IT’S NOT THE CHAIRS; NOT BYOB – NOT BRINGING YOUR OWN BREAD – ON WHICH OUR VISION SHOULD BE FIXED; BUT UPON THE IMAGE OF CHRIST BREAKING BREAD;

 

ALLOWING HIMSELF, HIS OWN BODY, TO BE BROKEN FOR US; THAT IS WHAT THIS NIGHT IS ABOUT.  THE CUP OF HIS BLOOD, POURED OUT FOR OUR SINS OF THE WORLD;

 

WITH ONE EYE ON THE CROSS, AND THE OTHER ON THE EMPTY TOMB; THAT’S OUR VISION ON THIS NIGHT; AND, AS WE COME TO THE TABLE;

 

AS WE BLESS, BREAK, TAKE, AND EAT;

AS WE BLESS, POUR, TAKE, AND DRINK;

 

AS WE SHARE WITH CHRIST; AND THE SAINTS ABOVE, AND THE SAINTS BELOW; AND THE SAINTS RIGHT BESIDE US, THIS NIGHT.

 

 

 

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