‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends. John 15:12-15
Tonight it was chicken and pasta, with some grilled vegetables on the side and garlic bread. I didn’t serve, but I went through the line twice, once for my kids and then again for Todd and me. It’s a good thing I know the folks serving. Otherwise, they would have thought I was a real pig.
One of my fondest memories of a Wednesday night dinner was when I was in seminary. I had my very first job as a staff member of a church and I was very excited. When Wednesday night suppers started, the staff was asked to serve the first meal. So we put on our aprons and dished up lasagna, served salad with tongs, and scooped out cobbler and ice cream.
The next morning, I met with my Christian Thought colloquy. I can’t remember now what important theological concept we discussed, but I do remember clearly the juxtaposition of these two events; the heady conversation born from our desire to understand God better, and the unpretentious service of dishing up pasta and sauce. Both were communion.
In the Gospel of John as Jesus sat down to eat his final meal with his disciples, there was much of the same kind of discussion as in my colloquy all those years ago. There are chapters and chapters of Jesus teaching his disciples, and I can only imagine there were questions, comments, stories from them as they struggled to understand all that the Kingdom of God really meant. But the talking wasn’t everything. In the washing of the feet, in the serving and eating together, in the presence of Jesus among those who loved him most and doing the most common things in the world, the kingdom of God was made real.
We are nearing the end of Holy Week. On Thursday, we remember this meal Jesus shared with his disciples. The Last Supper. We gussy it up now with our pretty golden patens and chalices – and rightly so, it is a moment to celebrate – but Jesus ate shared with his disciples the most simple and direct of all meals: bread shared among friends. He calls us to do the same.
Even here in cyber-land, will you break bread with me?
May your eating be blessed.