Lent Pilgrimage Week 3

Everyday Stuff

This is the third in my Lent Pilgrimage blogs. This week we think about Jesus’s last meal with his closest friends.

Last year, I had the privilege of celebrating Pesach also called Passover, in a Jewish home. At the heart of it is the family, where all are included, from the youngest to the oldest. The table groaning with food to be enjoyed by all. But this is much more than a family get-together. The meal not only symbolises the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery, but it is a participation in the exodus, where everyday items and ingredients are given special significance. The bitter herbs speak of the slavery endured and the unleavened bread of the urgency of their departure.

There is some debate whether this last supper Jesus shared with his closest disciples and friends was the evening of the Passover or the day before. Either way, this is the evening Jesus chose to show us a greater liberation. 

Jesus takes the everyday stuff of every meal for every person and fills it with significance. The bread was unleavened, meaning there was no yeast to make it rise, and it would have resembled the matzos used in Jewish homes for the Passover meal. When water was likely to be contaminated and cause illness, fermenting it into wine was healthier, and so it was a staple everyday drink for everyone. From the poorest to the richest bread and wine was the stuff of every meal throughout the Mediterranean world, found in every home and market stall. It was not exotic, but common and unexceptional fare.

He picks up the bread and breaks it into two and says that it’s his body. Picking up the cup of wine, he says that it’s his blood. The ordinary stuff has extraordinary significance. His body was about to be broken and his blood spilt out onto the ground under the cross. He says this must happen for his sacrifice to make sense. He is himself the Passover lamb who will be sacrificed and eaten at every meal in Jerusalem.

Only after Jesus’s resurrection did his early followers understand the significance of the bread and wine. They would meet daily in their homes to recreate and remember his sacrifice. Today Christians continue this celebration in our churches and homes. It has many names, eucharist, breaking bread, or communion, but it has the same significance. Together, we share in his sacrifice and are led each time from captivity into freedom.

Never discount the everyday and ordinary in our lives because he can transform them into the amazing and significant. He takes our everyday lives and makes them extraordinary. And with them, he can change the world.

Photo by Jocelyn Morales on Unsplash

Photo by Nancy Hann on Unsplash

Photo by Rey Proenza on Unsplash

“When we meet, we will share a meal, then pray, sing, read the scriptures and teach the things we heard from Jesus and tell his stories. We will share bread and wine as Jesus did at our last supper together on the evening before he died. In these ways, we will continue to imitate Jesus in everything we do.”

Leaving Bethany page 152

If you enjoyed this blog why not read the earlier ones in this series

Lent Pilgrimage Week 1  Lent Stories  https://leavingbethany.com/2023/02/22/lent-pilgrimage-week-1/

Lent Pilgrimage Week 2 A King Like No Other https://leavingbethany.com/2023/02/27/lent-pilgrimage-week-2/

Susan Sutherland is the author of three books. To buy Leaving Bethany and the sequel Return to Caesarea please go to the buy page.

If you like Susan’s blogs sign up for the mailing list and receive a free copy of The Aemilia Metella Interviews.

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