Then about 20 years ago, I had two experiences that changed everything for me about Maundy Thursday. The first was a presentation by a man from "Jews for Jesus". He celebrated a Passover Seder with us and revealed Jesus in the celebration. It was really an eye opening time with the realization of the connection between this Jewish festival and our Communion. The second experience was the Maundy Thursday just a few days after that Passover meal, that included everyone sitting at tables and eating a meal together. Then the Pastors washed the feet of each of us
Later in that service, everyone was called to come up and join together as we took Communion together, all standing around the altar (which was truly a "Communion Table"). The words in the Bible describing the Last Supper became real to me that night. I have longed for that experience again on each Maundy Thursday since then.
Maundy Thursday came this year. It was particularly special because Zeke had decided to take his First Communion at that service.
Gwen and Tim's church is a wonderful mix of things that make it Lutheran, yet relevant and attractive to young and old alike. They do Maundy Thursday beginning with everyone sitting at tables, with bread and wine, grapes and juice as the center. Those who have decided to make this their first Communion are called to the front and asked to share why they have made this choice. I loved the variety of testimonies shared. One young man shared that he wanted to make this HIS faith rather than just his parents. Another shared the desire to be closer to Jesus. One girl talked about getting strength from Communion. Among other things, Zeke shared that he wanted to be a disciple of Jesus. So many personal reasons, shared publicly with their church family.
The Pastor told the story of the Last Supper and talked about the fellowship that happened that night around that table. Psalm 51 was shared. There was time for prayer. Then the oldest person at each table - and that was clearly me - passed the bread and the wine (juice) to everyone at the table. Really a wonderful way to remember why Communion is such an important part of our faith - something that has been celebrated for centuries. It was for me, a reminder of that service long ago.
I am so thankful that I got to be a part of such an important event for Zeke. Gwen and Tim have done a wonderful job of making their faith real everyday. That has translated well for their children. I love seeing these important milestones being passed down to the next generation. Most of all, I am so thankful that my grandchildren will grow up knowing and experiencing what Maundy Thursday is really all about, and knowing Jesus personally.
Jesus, thank you for leaving us this life-giving meal. Holy Spirit remind us that fellowship, eating together and caring for each other are all part of God's plan. Give us the courage to slow down and take the time to sit and talk and share with others. Thank you for Fellowship of Faith church and the messages that are shared. Jesus, bless these young people who boldly shared their faith, with your presence and power. Thank you Lord for family. Amen