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Maundy Thursday  




Communion
 

This is my body
This is my blood

With his words he held out broken bread and the cup of wine.
With his words we would never experience Passover the same again.
With his words he was doing something new.
With his words this meal was of a different kind to all the meals we had shared.

With his words we remembered
                        We remembered
The bread blessed and shared at Levi’s house,
                                                and at Mary and Martha’s,
                                                and at home of Simon the Pharisee,
                                                on the hillside in the wilderness,    
                                                and all the other meals.   
    
We remembered his words then of kingdom and forgiveness
                                    of abundance and fulfilment;
his words of what really matters,
and they all led to
here and now
and the bread in his hands
blessed, broken and shared.



This is my body
This is my blood


With his words our hearts burned within us.
With his words we were overwhelmed
            with a sense of foreboding and darkness.
With his words we were re-learning the meaning of
            love and life and death.

With his words he was saying ‘I am approaching the end.’
With his words we knew his way was set,
            his path was decided,
            his road marked out.
            It had been from the moment he turned his face towards Jerusalem.
            It had been from the moment of his baptism.
            It had been from the moment of his birth.
            It had been from before the creation of the world.



This is my body
This is my blood


With his words we were coming face to face with
the God without measure,
            the God of surprises,
            the God of all goodness.



This is my body
This is my blood


With his words he was giving us something,
something that we would carry with us from that day on
yes it was bread and wine, but it was more.

With his words we were encountering a mystery.
With his words he was saying this is I how I will be with you for ever.
With his words we were witnessing love’s endeavour, love’s expense.



This is my body
This is my blood


With his words we were confronted by grace,
            the grace of the one true life.

With his words we saw the future as God’s gift.
With his words he was declaring the undoing of death.
With his words he was teaching us how to live gently in a violent world,
showing us the cost of discipleship.
With his words he was saying these are the things that make for peace.



This is my body
This is my blood


With his words he was re-describing reality,
the coming shaking of heaven and earth:
the promised deliverance of God.

With his words he was taking the story we knew so well,
            the story we had rehearsed every year from birth to adulthood
            and now he was re-writing it as a story that was re-playing again
            but now with himself at the centre
            he was to be the Lamb led to the slaughter (Is 53.7)
            and he was drawing us in – as if saying
my story will become your story.



This is my body
This is my blood


With his words he was taking hold of ordinary things
            and making them a sacred promised sign of life.
With his words he was leading us to see how he was
            transforming fate into destiny,
                                    judgement into mercy,
                                    death into life.

With his words we would come to know nothing greater, nothing better.



This is my body
This is my blood


With his words we were silenced
With his words we acknowledged the fragility and frailty of our humanity
                        the capacity of our ability to do violence
With his words we saw the joining of brokenness and blessing
With his words he was drawing a line from past through present to future
                        from Exodus and Exile
                        to the Promised End
                                    where death would be swallowed up
                                    and tears wiped away from all faces
                                    and the LORD would remove all of our disgrace (Is 25.8)
                        and it would be through his body, his blood
                                    broken and poured out for many.


This is my body
This is my blood


           


Image | Debbie Hudson | Unsplash



This reflection was prepared by the Revd Andy Goodliff, minister of Belle Vue Baptist Church in Southend, Essex, and shared at the church in 2018.   

(Author's note: some reading this will recognise some of the lines are borrowed from book titles by W. H. Vanstone, Sam Wells, Stanley Hauerwas, Fleming Rutledge, Paul Fiddes, Walter Brueggemann, Frances Young, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, David Fergusson, Kevin Vanhoozer, Kavin Rowe, John Webster and Douglas Campbell)

 

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