The Passover: A night for remembering, retelling ancient stories, recalling who we are, for sharing a meal that takes us to the source, and the summit, of life. True for Jesus and his disciples, long ago; true for Jesus and his disciples today, this day.
To remember is to encounter God: Memories of good times, especially good people, each one a blessing, each one a memory of the faithful presence of God in our lives. But even memories of bad times, difficult days, desert periods of life when we are wrapped in a cloud of unknowing – those too are memories of the God whose presence sometimes feels like absence.
Tonight, with our Jewish brothers and sisters, we remember the ancient story of how God was, and is, determined to lead us on a journey from slavery to freedom – the slavery of self-absorption, self-indulgence, self-fulfillment, to the freedom of the children of God.
I can imagine that Jesus and his friends shared a good deal of remembering that night, perhaps recalling the many other significant meals they had shared. But at this meal, something different: he blessed bread, wine, and gave himself away, to them and to us.
The critical question is not, how he changed bread and wine into his body and blood, but how are we changed, as Paul frequently reminds us, into the Body of Christ? The answer, as Jesus shows us, is found in all those moments when we are willing to break our bodies, and pour out our life’s blood, in humble service of those whom God has given us to love.
“Do this in memory of me.”