Summary: A sermon for Maundy Thursday.
“This is My Body Given for You”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodiat Church, Chattanooga, TN
When Jesus wanted to give His followers a way of understanding what was about to happen to Him, He didn’t give them a theory.
He gave them an act to perform.
Here, specifically, He gave them a meal to share.
And it is a meal that speaks more volumes than any theory ever could.
The best way of finding out what it says is, of course, to do it.
Tonight is Maundy Thursday…
…kind of a funny name, is it not?
This day is always celebrated as a remembrance of what happened right before Jesus was arrested and then sent to be crucified.
The word “Maundy” comes from Latin and means “mandate” or “commandment.”
It is something Christ has commanded us to do…
…such as “Love one another.”
…or “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Or as Christ did on His final night on this earth, “he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me.’”
In other words, “Do this and it will make you remember Me.”
Jesus knew how easily the human mind forgets.
It’s almost as if time wipes all things out.
Time can be like a sponge on a chalkboard…wiping the memories away.
Jesus was basically saying, “In the rush and stress of life you will forget me.
People forget because that’s the way the brain works, not necessarily because we want to.
So, come into the peace and stillness of my church family and do this again and again with your sisters and brothers—and you will remember.”
Somewhere deep in the human brain is a neurological link between food and memory.
Many of us have “food triggers”—distinctive tastes or smells that immediately carry us back to another time.
Maybe these favorite foods were prepared by someone special to us…or maybe they remind us of where we used to live.
When we eat these foods, the memories come flooding back and we taste a kind of joy!
The seasons do this for me as well.
We come into this life from out of the presence of God, and when we leave this earth, we return—by God’s grace—to heaven.
But there is a way in which we can be said to live our entire lives in a haze of forgetfulness.
A biblical scholar once said that one of the most important things in being a Christian is “to practice memory in a world of amnesia.” (Walter Brueggerman)
The Lord’s Supper is a very important way, a command Jesus has given to us, so that our consciousness will come alive to the reality that there is another world beyond this one—the world that is Most Real!
Once upon a time, twin boys were conceived in the same womb.
Weeks passed by and the twins began to develop.
And as their awareness grew, they laughed with joy and said, “Isn’t it great that we were conceived! Isn’t it great that we are alive!”
The twins explored their world together.
And they found their mother’s cord that gave them life, and they sang for joy, “How great is our mother’s love that she shares her own life with us!”
Weeks stretched into months, and the twins started to notice just how much each of them were changing.
“What does this mean?” one twin asked the other.
“It means that our stay in this world is coming to an end,” the other one said.
“But I don’t want to go. I want to stay here forever!” the first twin replied.
“We don’t have a choice,” said the other.
“But maybe there’s life after birth,” the other one said.
“No, we will shed our cord. How is it possible that we will live without it?” replied the other.
“Besides, we’ve seen evidence of others who’ve come before us and gone on. Yet none of them have come back to show us that there is life beyond. No, this is the end.”
And so the other twin fell into deep despair saying, “If conception ends at birth, what’s the purpose of the womb? It’s meaningless!—Maybe there’s no mother after all.”
“But there has to be,” the other protested, “how else did we get here? And, how do we stay alive?”
“Maybe she’s just a figment of our imagination. Maybe we made her up, because the idea made us feel good,” the first twin said.
And so, their last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and a lot of fear.