Take It With You 11.21.2021

[Jesus to His disciples] And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19 NKJV

Common to Passover tradition, a blessing comes after a meal, after eating bread, a grace spoken to express gratitude for God’s constant and unchanging care. Always before on this night, the Passover meal would involve a thanksgiving blessing of remembrance, “This is the bread of affliction our ancestors ate when they came from Egypt.” This night, Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, and says something new. The unleavened bread, the symbolic manna, takes on a new meaning as Jesus establishes a new way of remembering, a new thanksgiving blessing: “This is My body, broken for you”.  

For now, the disciples do not fully grasp the underlying meaning of Jesus’ words, do not understand the implications of the symbol, and do not recognize the offering will come within hours. Soon, Jesus will be hastily arrested, falsely accused, and brutally afflicted. This celebrated bread of affliction will be soon remembered as the Bread of Life, as Jesus willing allows His body to be broken for the disciples in that room, for those who arrest and beat and crucify Him, for those who do not understand, for all people ~ then and now and to come… for you… for me.

Holy One, how often I forget… forget the blessing and the brokenness, forget the sacrifice that speaks to me in the sacrament. Holy Manna, bread that is blessed and broken for me, nourish my soul. Help me tell the Gospel story of Grace. Bread of Life, may this blessing reveal Your deep love that surpasses me, surrounds me, spares me. May the ancient echoes rend my heart, “This is My body, broken for you!” 

~ Donna Oswalt