The past week I had the opportunity to travel through some familiar country, specifically Tennessee and Georgia, where I spent 23 years of my life. One of the things about driving through these places was remembering the sights and sounds of shared experiences with family and friends. Go figure, some of the most powerful memories were around food.
When I got to Atlanta, I drove down Ponce de Leon, past the first place I worked (its now a spiffy car wash), I tried to go to Bobby and June's, a restaurant near Turner Broadcasting, but they're closed now. I spent a few minutes on the outskirts of Newnan, near where we lived last and was so saddened by the endless strip malls that I got back on the highway as quickly as I could.
I did get to have a terrific meal of catfish at a little state park north of Nashville, the veggie plate (and peach cobbler for dessert) at Mary Mac's, and a Frosted Orange at the Varsity next to Georgia Tech. Simple meals, but sitting there in those places brought back so many memories.
Whether its a big family dinner or a simple meal with a friend, there is something special about the many senses that are engaged as we break bread together. I think this is why God ordered the Hebrew people to share the Passover meal each year, a meal loaded with symbolism and memories, so that they would never forget their story.
It was the same with Jesus, as he broke bread with the disciples at the Passover meal on what would be His Last Supper. He didn't want them to forget what it was like to be with him, but also what it was like to be in unity with one another. The food would nourish them all for the journey through Christ's passion, and it would also sustain them just as it sustains us for life's journey.
Today is Maundy Thursday, the day the church gathers to break bread with one another and meditate about Jesus' Last Supper. Today I remember those whom I have had the blessing to break bread with in my life...from special sit down meals to an ordinary sandwich, you have blessed me along the way, and I say a prayer for you, that you are well.
I also pray that you may know the love of God, a love so powerful that compelled Jesus to give his life for us - and he prepared his disciples for what was to happen when he took bread and broke it and said 'this is my body, broken for you." And then he lifted the cup of wine and said; "this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins." "Whenever you are together, do this in remembrance of me."
Today we break bread and drink from the cup in remembrance of Him. One day, I look forward to feasting together at the heavenly banquet with you, my friends.
in Christ, together,