Tag Archives: Maundy Thursday

New in the kingdom of God

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mark (14:22-25)

What a difference six months makes!

I have come to realize a truth that I had only intellectually known before. As the Collect for Guidance says, “in all the cares and occupations of our life … we are ever walking in God’s sight” (BCP 100).

Six months ago, I was completely discouraged and at the end of my own power. Today, I woke up glad, looking forward to the day.

I could not manage my own life; no human power could have relieved my problem. But God could and would if I sought Him.

“In these holy mysteries,” the Collect for Maundy Thursday reminds us, Christ “gives us a pledge of eternal life” (BCP 221).

In the holy mystery of a man sharing a meal with his friends (and his betrayer) …

In the holy mystery of a teacher serving his students …

In the holy mystery of the incarnate God dying a criminal’s death …

In the holy mystery of  an empty tomb on an early Sunday morning …

That day when the Risen Christ breaks the bread and drinks the cup with us — “new in the kingdom of God” — is about to dawn again.

In that dawn, we can be glad — in every dawn, because of that one, we too can be “new in the kingdom of God.”

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So knit thou our friendship up

Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether (Percy Dearmer)

Draw us in the Spirit’s tether;
For when humbly, in thy name,
Two or three are met together,
Thou art in the midst of them:
Alleluya! Alleluya! Touch we now thy garment’s hem.

As the brethren used to gather
In the name of Christ to sup,
Then with thanks to God the Father
Break the bread and bless the cup,
Alleluya! Alleluya! So knit thou our friendship up.

All our meals and all our living
Make us sacraments of thee,
That by caring, helping, giving,
We may true disciples be.
Alleluya! Alleluya! We will serve thee faithfully.

In The Spirit of Early Christian Thought (Yale 2003), Robert Louis Wilken suggests that Christian theology begins, first of all, with the disciples’ experience of meeting the Risen Christ in the shared meal of bread and wine.

Through his passion, death, and resurrection Jesus overcomes death and reconciles us to God. In communion with one another, we disciples find ourselves living a new life in Christ.

In the services of Holy Week, we “knit our friendship up” with Christ by immersing ourselves in his last days of self-offering love. I invite you to enter into the events around the Last Supper this Maundy Thursday “as the brethren used to gather in the name of Christ to sup.”

May this communion strengthen your friendship with the Risen Christ.