I was reading this earlier today from Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 26: It’s the Last Supper. The final meal that Jesus eats with his closest friends.
26 While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ 27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’
I’m asking three of the questions that we typically ask in a way of engaging with scripture called ‘Godly Play.’
First, I ask myself – which is the part I like best ? Today, it’s those four actions of Jesus – taking bread, blessing, breaking and giving.
Then I ask – Is there a part I find difficult to receive, or hard to understand ? It’s when Jesus says ‘I will never again drink … until I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’ I’m happy just to sit with that for the moment.
Then I ask – is there a part that is especially about me ? Or – where do I see myself in this passage ? We sometimes read scripture as it were ‘from the outside’ – studying all the meaning of the passage. But it’s also really important to put ourselves in there. Today, I am imagining that I am with those others gathered for this meal with Jesus. And as in my mind Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and passes it to me, I am receiving from him, but I am also receiving Jesus himself.
The deeper story that gives extra meaning to this story is the story of the cross. As Jesus is taken, he is offering his life for the life of the world; his life is a life blessed by God as no other life before or since; he was broken for us – his life given for us; and all the fruit of the life and work of Jesus is given to all who will receive.
And in the same way, we are called to offer our lives for God to take and bless. And yes, there will be brokenness as well. Everyone who has loved knows that loving is a risky business and often involves hurt and pain. But it is only through this risk taking life that we are able to truly give ourselves to one another and to the world.
There’s a wonderful short story called ‘The Gift of The Magi’ by the American writer O. Henry that in summary goes like this:
It’s Christmas Eve. Jim and Della are poor, and in love. They each want to buy a gift for the other.
But because they have little money, each of them, without telling the other, decide to sell something they have that will enable them to buy a gift for the other.
Now Della has beautiful long hair … and she knows that she can get a good price at the wigmakers
And Jim has a pocket watch left to him by his father. And he knows that it has some value.
So Della has her hair cut off, and sells it to the wigmaker, and with the money she buys a watch chain for Jim’s pocket watch
And Jim sells his watch to buy a beautiful comb fit for Della’s hair.
And as he comes home to give her the comb for her hair, they discover that there is no beautiful long hair for the comb, and there is no watch for the chain, but in that moment, they discover something even more precious, they understand something of the love that each of them has – a love that is willing to make a sacrifice for the one we love.
Grace and Peace