I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Maundy Thursday is perhaps the worst day in church history. In fact it is probably the worst day in the history of all humanity. Maundy Thursday is the day that the embodiment of Gods perfect love came to us in the person of Jesus and we rejected him. It was on that last night that there was no hope left for Jesus. One of his best friends had just betrayed him for money, and another was about to deny him three times, and all the rest of his disciples would run away in fear for their lives. It was in a moment of hopelessness, that Jesus gave us a sign of hope , when he said “this is my body and I give it to you”. He was letting us know it would be ok, that he had a plan.
In the establishment of the Eucharist Jesus gave the church many things, but the most important thing he gave was the assurance that God had a plan.
I was listening to a sermon that was given by one of my favorite authors, a Roman Catholic Dominican Priest from England, and he was talking about this very moment in church history, and he asked the question: ” have you ever thought how odd it is, that every Sunday we gather to remember the moment that the community ran away, when they were dispersed?” He continued on to say that, “we gather in hope to remember the worst moment, because it is when it is darkest that God comes to us” or to rephrase that I like to say that it is when it is darkest that God comes to us and we start to see his plan.
Several years ago a friend of mine posted a cryptic post on Facebook. She and I had gone to Bible school together and had reconnected online. In her post she simply said, “If you pray I need you to pray.” So that evening I spent some time praying for her, and the next morning I woke up and checked Facebook as I do every morning and saw her post, she said that her husband’s cancer had returned and that it was going to take a miracle for him to make it. Several months later, at the age of 32 her husband had passed away.
So here is my friend, she and her husband fellow ministers doing exactly what God wants them to do and tragedy strikes. Where is God’s plan in all of this? That’s the question that I was asking, but not her. She said despite this being painful, and despite her feelings of sadness and anger, she knew that God had a plan, and she wanted everyone else to know this as well.
Time went on, as if does in these situations and I happened across another Facebook post from her several months later. This one caught me off guard. She had just announced that she was pregnant.
She had explained that they had trouble conceiving their first child and they sought out help from a fertility specialist. In doing so the specialist had fertilized several eggs, and as luck would have it the first egg was all they needed to have for a healthy pregnancy. Because they went to a Christian hospital for the procedure, the hospital froze he remaining fertilized eggs in case they needed them again in the future. Well the future arrived, and even though her husband had passed away she moved forward with getting pregnant again, because he wanted her too, and he time was right. She got pregnant and experienced a normal pregnancy.
After nine long pregnancy months, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Baby and mom were healthy and sent home from the hospital and to a brother who was anxiously awaiting their arrival. But then after three shot days of being at home, the unthinkable happened. My friend’s newborn daughter spiked a high fever, and no amount of medicine was brining it down. They rushed to the emergency room, where dozens of tests were run. Then the news came. My friend’s daughter had somehow contracted meningitis. Her daughter was hooked up to breathing machines and all sorts of monitors. She was not expected to make it.
So there sat my friend who had just lost her husband a short time ago, about to lose her daughter. She was desperate and didn’t know what to do. Then faced with the decision that no parent should have to face, she made the decision to take her daughter off of the ventilator. She didn’t want to see her baby suffer any longer.
She removed her daughter from the ventilator and held her close to her, cuddling her, crying and praying. Then the unthinkable….the unexplainable happened. Her daughter, who just moments ago was not able to breath on her own took a breath. Then another, and another and then minutes turned into hours and hours turned into days. The miracle that she had prayed for was happening right before her eyes.
Through all of this she never lost hope, she pressed on knowing that no matter what, God had a plan, and that He was going to see her through it., and He did.
I believe that God had his hand in all of this, the entire time he was there with her giving her the strength that she needed to make it through the loss of her husband, and the near loss of her daughter, and now you can see the fruits of that plan, because she travels all over the country talking to groups large and small about grief and trusting in Gods plan. She has been interviewed by people magazine and has a best selling book. So when Jesus said those words 2000 years ago this is my body and I give it to you, it was Him letting us know that he had a plan, it was Him letting us know that He has us covered and that no matter what happens he will see us through it.
Let us pray:
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he
suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood:
Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in
remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy
mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.