Thursday, March 24, 2016

A New Commandment Christ Gave Us

Today we recall in our hearts and minds the events that occurred on Thursday of what the church calls Holy Week, the last week in the life of our Lord. The disciples have gathered in an upper room to participate in what is called a Seder meal, one of the highlights of the Passover week. The Passover festival, of course, had been done for centuries before Jesus came on the scene. It commemorated that time when the Jews were in bondage in Egypt. Moses warned Pharaoh to let his people go, but Pharaoh hardened his heart. So God sent a death over the land of Egypt, but miraculously this death passed over the homes of the Jews. Thus, the season of Passover was given birth.
The meal itself was a symbolic one reminding the Jews of the sufferings of their forefathers and the power of God's deliverance. The foods that were eaten were symbols to remind the Jews of their captivity in Egypt. Apple sauce was eaten to remind them of brick mortar and the fact that they were forced to make bricks with no straw. A bitter herb is eaten to remind them of the bitterness of their captivity. It was this symbolic Seder Meal that the disciples were partaking of that night in the upper room.
It was at the conclusion of that meal that Jesus himself added two more symbols. He took a loaf and broke it and gave it to his disciples saying: Take eat, this is my body which is broken for you, do this in remembrance of me. Then he took a cup with wine. He drank from it and gave it to his disciples saying, "Drink ye all of this, for this is my blood which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin."
Thus was born our tradition of taking the Lord's Supper, out of the experience of an ancient Jewish custom. It was at this meal that John recorded Jesus giving his disciples “a new commandment” that we love one another as Jesus had loved them. This is where we get the expression “Maundy Thursday” from the Latin “mandatum” for mandate or commandment.
Notice that Jesus says “Your love” not for me, not for God, but for other people is the proof that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus showed his disciples that you show love by serving, so he washed their feet like a servant would.
The thing that proves to the world that we are Christ’s followers is not our buildings, not our music, not our sermons, not our sacraments, but rather our love for one another.
Follow Christ’s command and show your love today by inviting someone to church with you This Sunday. Our goal is to fill Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center twice at 9am & 11am. The only way that this is going to happen is if you invite a friend, co-worker, relative and neighbor to come with you.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,

Invite a friend, relative, neighbor and co-worker to “Come Celebrate Easter”.

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