Last night we shared a wonderful meal together, celebrating 2 new births, welcoming an old friend (now old enough to be a Grannie!) and taking time to focus on Holy Week, which we are all dispersed for this year. The words we used for the sharing of bread and wine are words I put together and we’ve used for a good 3 years or so. I never cease to find new insights through this greater understanding of the Passover meal and significance of the bread and wine – so here they are for anyone who’s interested:
A last supper before Holy Week and Easter 2017
Before we share bread and wine, we share our own needs and the names and stories of those we know who need Jesus now. We symbolically include them at the table and take bread and wine for them and for ourselves, committing us all into his safekeeping as we head towards Holy Week and into Easter… (Sharing of needs)
At Jesus’ last supper – the Passover meal – the bread was unleavened – leaven or yeast representing sin. It was also a reminder of the bread carried on the exodus journey. The Israelites were ‘with-breaders’, with God as their ‘com-panion’.
At the Seder meal of Passover, there are 3 ‘matzot’ on the table – named after the 3 Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is the middle one that is broken – the Isaac – the one who was taken for sacrifice. The other half is hidden and called the ‘afikomen’, the ‘afters’ or the ‘that which is to come’. It was this that Jesus redefined as his body broken for us…
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said,
This is my body, broken for you.
Do this to remember me.
After supper, he did the same thing with the cup:
This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you.
Each time you drink this cup, remember me.
What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you re-enact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.
Response: Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
The Afikomen is broken and shared around the table.
We read, in turn:
- This is the bread of the Passover which Jesus shared with his friends at the Last Supper
- It is the unleavened bread – the ‘without-sin’ bread
- It is the middle matzah that Jesus broke – the Isaac – the bread of sacrifice
- It is the afikomen – the ‘that-which-is-to-come’ bread.
- It is the bread prescribed to the Hebrews to take on the exodus from Egypt – they were sent out ‘with bread’ – with God as their ‘com-panion’
- This is the promise of Jesus as our ‘with-breader’ – our companion on the journey
- This is the body of Christ broken for us, for the forgiveness of sins
We eat the bread.
We fill our cups.
There are 4 cups of wine drunk during the course of the Passover meal, recalling 4 promises from Exodus 6: 6 – 7.
The first cup is for the promise ‘I will bring you out’ and is known as the cup of deliverance.
The second recalls the promise ‘I will deliver you from slavery’ and is known as the cup of freedom.
The third remembers the promise ‘I will redeem you with a demonstration of my power’ and is called the cup of redemption. It is also known as the cup of thanksgiving and gives its name to ‘Eucharist’ meaning ‘thanksgiving’. This was the cup redefined by Jesus as his blood of the new covenant.
The fourth cup promised ‘I will acquire you as a nation’. This was referred to as the cup of consummation, and it was this cup that Jesus did not drink.
We read in turn:
- This is the third cup of the Passover meal which Jesus shared with his friends at the Last Supper
- It is the cup of redemption
- It is the cup of thanksgiving
- It is the cup of the new covenant
- It is the cup of promise
- It is the cup of suffering
- It is the cup of joy
- It is the cup of healing
- This is the blood of Christ given for many, for the forgiveness of sins
We drink together and say our Amen!
Thanks to all who came last night. Blessings on all until we meet again post-Easter!!!