Summary: God wants to wake us up!
An unknown family member tells the story of her sister and her children who move to their city and began attending church for the first time in their lives. They especially loved the singing and communion service. One day this family member babysat the children and fixed them their favorite meal of burritos and apple juice.
“As I left the room, I heard four-year-old Alisha begin to celebrate communion with her lunch items. She seemed to have memorized the words quite well, except when it came to the cup. I heard her say, “And Jesus took the cup, and he blessed it, and gave God thanks for it, and he said, “Fill it with Folgers and wake ‘em up!”
What wonderful theology the storyteller notes. And it is! Wake ‘em up God! God wants to wake us up with all the wonderful life He offers us that we are reminded of when we take communion.
In our tradition, we celebrate communion as a remembrance of God’s love for us, God’s forgiveness to us, and God’s life in us. As we celebrate again this Sunday, let us remember and let us be glad!
As part of today’s communion we are going to walk through Luke’s account of communion as recorded in Luke 22 and note some things as part of our remembrance and reflection today. We begin with verse 14. Read the passage
In verse 14 Luke writes “at the proper time.” What did he mean?
Well two things come to mind. It was now the right time for Jesus and the twelve to eat the Passover meal. Preparations had to take place before the meal could be eaten. Some preparations had to do with food preparation, just like any meal, and other preparations were ceremonial – there were rituals attached to the Passover meal that had to be performed the participants were ready to eat. But, there is another perspective this phrase brings to mind and it is found in Romans 5:6: When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
At just the right time, at the proper time, it is as if all of history in those final moments and hours of Jesus’ life came to a stand still and waited, silent and almost breathless, for God to finish what He had planned to do for humankind. Jesus’ words in verse 15 give support to this thought. “I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover meal with you.” It was at the right time, it was at the proper time, when those around Jesus were focused on God’s mighty acts of deliverance as they remembered what their ancestors did in obedience to God who brought them out of slavery and bondage into freedom and liberty. But there is more to be studied in this passage.
In verse 17 we read, “Then he took a cup of wine and when he had given thanks for it, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” Only in Luke do we read of two cups of wine being served during this event. The other gospel accounts, and Paul’s statements in 2 Corinthians, record only one cup of wine being poured. What is going on here?
It is important to note that four cups of wine are served during the Passover meal. They are the Cup of Sanctification and Freedom, the Cup of Deliverance, the Cup of Redemption, and the Cup of Thanksgiving and Hope. Biblical scholars are not sure which cup of wine is this first cup mentioned by Luke. But, given that the breaking of the bread in the traditional Passover meal takes place after the first cup is served, this could be the Cup of Sanctification and Freedom or it could be the second cup, the Cup of Deliverance.
So, why does Luke mention this first cup? Two reasons: First, Jesus tells the twelve to share it among themselves to strengthen the bond of fellowship among themselves. And the bond of fellowship would be strengthened by both the sanctification of God and the deliverance through God that come as a result of Christ’s actions.
Second, Jesus is looking down the road to the fulfillment of what the second cup represents that will be expressed in the coming of the Kingdom of God – this points to the second cup – the cup of deliverance.
Then in verse 19 we read that Jesus took a loaf of bread, thanked God for it, and broke it in pieces. Passover bread is called matzah and it is really three separate loaves or matzot. At the proper time, the center, or second, matzot is taken and broken in two. One half is broken up and eaten and the other half, called the Afikomen, is saved until later, when it is generally hidden for the children to find it. It represents the redemption for which we wait.