When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.And he said to them,“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22 14-16, NIV.
I remember reading this verse some years ago and being struck by it. Sometimes we are so focussed on the deity of Christ we rush past his humanity. His desire to share a significant meal with His friends. But maybe it tells us something about God too. After all, he goes to the trouble of the redemptive drama in the Bible because He is determined to fulfil His aim: 'I shall be their God, and they shall be my people' (Genesis 17:7).
This shows us what is at the heart of 'communion' as we often call it. We are together, and by His promise, God Himself is with us, among us. But most importantly, our Lord chose the solemn occasion of passover to be the background to the New Covenant feast. The Passover was also a meal, where people collectively celebrated together that they were a blood-bought people. I share this thought today because it is Maundy Thursday. We should be gathering to celebrate this meal together tonight, but we are not.
Let me be candid. I miss gathering with each and every one of you. As a relatively new pastor, this separation is really quite heart-breaking. I long to gather with you, to see your faces as I preach. To hear your stories and exchange news after the service. And perhaps more than all of that, I long to share communion once again. For me, as much as I am grateful for our technological capabilities, they are but a pale shadow of the better things, the gathering in person. It is my prayer we learn through this how precious our gathering together really is, and support our church with renewed vigour. And so, I end where I began. With the psalmist, I long to see the courts of the house of God. I 'eagerly desire' to share the Lord's supper with you, and for now must wait until we can. And in the waiting, I take comfort that God uses our longing and waiting to make Himself and His gifts even more precious to us. May God bless you as we wait ...