Jesus is our teacher and Lord. He teaches us to follow him in humility and service, and to proclaim his death until he comes.
During Lent we reflect on those times when we have fallen short of all that God calls us to be. Let us bring to mind those things that continue to burden us and ask God to free us from our chains.
You have shown us how to live with humility.
Lord, have mercy.
You have taught us how to be servants to others.
Christ, have mercy.
You have invited us all to sit at your table.
Lord, have mercy.
Bible reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The apostle Paul’s description of the events at the Last Supper is the earliest known account of what happened that night, written only ten or fifteen years after Jesus died. What he describes Jesus as doing with the bread and wine are known as the ‘four dominical acts’; namely that he took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to those gathered. This was entirely typical for a mean in first century Palestine, but Jesus’ relating these acts was a conversation turning-point.
Jesus knew his future was inevitable, perhaps even as he prayed to his Father that it might not be so. But he knew that his conflict with the authorities would lead in one direction only, and he tells the disciples this explicitly: ‘I am with you only a little longer’. And so he prepares his disciples for a lifetime without him, which is to be characterised by humility, service and love. He lowers himself from the status of teacher and Lord to that of servant as he washes their feet – surely the filthiest part of them – and commands them to do the same and to love one another.
This Last Supper is often referred to as the Institution of the Eucharist, when Jesus gave us the sacrament of Holy Communion. It is something Jesus wanted us to do and we find it is a moment of communion with the Lord and of spiritual strength and sustenance. How hard many of us have found not being able to partake this past year while our services have been mostly on-line. St Luke’s may be continuing with on-line services for a while longer but 7pm this Easter Day a short service of Holy Communion will be held to remember, and re-member, Christ as he becomes present again.
The Eucharist is a gift to strengthen us for our mission, modelled for us in the person of Jesus, and characterised by submission and service. We are sent out as ‘living sacrifices’. This is Jesus’ will for our lives and our calling as a Church, that through the Body of Christ, God’s children on earth, he lives.
Our hearts are heavy with the needs of the world, and Jesus knows all our concerns. In the days ahead we will see how he carried them all, with the cross, on his shoulders.
We pray for those who are lonely; who have no one close by to serve or to serve them; that they may know the presence of God living in their heart, sustaining them each moment.
We pray for those who don’t know where the next meal is coming from; that we may be attentive to those in need.
We pray for those who betray us, and for those whom we have betrayed; that the Lord will have mercy upon us all, bring us to a place of forgiveness and repentance and direct our lives according to God’s will.
We pray for ourselves when we are proud and strong-willed, keen to follow our own path rather than the way of the cross; that the example of Jesus will inspire us to stay with him.
We thank you, Lord for hearing our prayers; and for the gift of your Son, who takes our burden of sin to the cross.
Thank you for joining in our reflection.
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