If you love someone, you may have said or thought at some point, “I would do anything for this person.”
If somebody asked you what ‘anything’ means, you might have said exceptional things:
"I’d give everything I have to make them happy."
"I’ll provide for their every need, and take away their problems."
"I would die to protect them."
"I will punish, even kill, anyone who tries to hurt them."
Love makes us ready to do exceptional things, doesn’t it?
But more often than not, the things our loved ones need from us are not exceptional at all. Attention and appreciation. Time spent together in learning and play. Compassion and forgiveness, when we’re confused and struggling.
We promise to do extraordinary things for the people we love. But love is mostly ordinary, and the ways it’s most commonly needed are easily overlooked, even by devoted people. You believe you’d jump in front of a bus to save your loved one, and that’s probably true, but how are you doing with simple quality time in the day-to-day? Love lives in ordinary things.
Now, think about how people relate to God. People ask God for extraordinary things, right?
People ask God to miraculously deliver their hearts’ desires - the dream job, the money, the babies, or whatever they think makes life glorious.
People ask God to take away things they hate – illness, strife, hardship – they pray for miracles that will alleviate struggle and fear.
People ask God to hurt their enemies, to pay them back double for the evil they’ve committed.
Extraordinary things. I mean, that’s what God is all about, right?
Well, let’s think about that. On Maundy Thursday, Jesus offered the love of God in a different way, a much more ordinary way. He didn’t offer gifts or riches to his disciples; he didn’t offer to shield them from pain; and he didn’t offer to kill the bad guys in their lives.
What Jesus offered was communion. He invited his friends to share a meal, and to begin a sacred and eternal fellowship of grace.
It wasn’t extravagant, it wasn’t impressive, and it didn’t solve any of their problems. In this fellowship they shared bread and wine, and they shared their fears, their hopes, their joy, their dismay. There were no trumpets, no supernatural displays. The food wasn’t amazing.
But as simple and humble a time as it was, the disciples remembered this meal forever, not just as a special moment in past, but as an ongoing reality, an ever-present reminder, that they were never separated from God, and that they were all members together of Christ's own body.
God loves us so very much that he would invite us to a meal. To receive bread and cup, and to become beloved community - strengthened, encouraged, comforted and chastened by Almighty Love. It’s not fancy, it’s not special. It’s just simple and close enough to show us how true Grace really is.
The Table is a Christian Church in Davenport, Iowa, pursuing transformation:
from greed toward generosity
from violence toward peacemaking
from isolation toward neighborliness
from fear toward faith
Worship Sundays at 5pm
102 E. 2nd. St. Davenport
HOLY THURSDAY GATHERING
at The Brewed Book
1524 N. Harrison St. Davenport