Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Matthew 26: 27 – 29
A favourite memory from my student days is having been part of a Passover Seder. That ancient Hebrew tradition is the foundation of our Christian Communion celebration. Four times during the meal a prayer is said and wine is consumed to remember God’s four-fold promise. When Jesus took the cup he was honouring the promise of God to ‘redeem’. So with His blood He ‘redeemed’, or ‘made whole’, by forgiving the sins that separated people from God and from one another. Separate we cannot fully love or fully live.
In the expression ‘blood of the covenant’ Jesus is using blood as a symbol for life itself. We need blood to live, we need blood ‘pumping’ to live. There was surely excitement when the disciples thought that they were being served this life giving wine. Then Jesus shattered their enthusiasm by saying it was being taken away until they could share it again in the Father’s Kingdom. What good was a promise of life in this earthly realm if they couldn’t tap into it? Jump ahead seven weeks to Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was sent to establish the Church. There was to be a form of the Father’s Kingdom here on earth. In time Christians came to realize that the Spirit was a new form of the ‘blood of the covenant’, a power from God to be a source of life and love for the world.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day in Canada. When I lived in Scotland I had to make sure that I purchased a card during Lent, then set it aside to ensure that I had one to send to my mother come May. This year my mother will be celebrating at the heavenly table. Yet, while on earth she lived out Jesus’ promise of wholeness through her passion, her honesty and her care for everyone. As we read the ancient words of scripture let us not put them aside for some future time, but use them right now to be people of wholeness and life for our world.
Prayer: We pray to God, the source of life, asking for forgiveness. Take away anything sinful that we hold in our hearts. May our redemption give us the eyes to see injustices around us and the wisdom to be the caring people God’s covenant would have us be. As Jesus brings us to life may we be His helpers in his plan to bring everyone to life.
Action: Take part in an online/virtual Communion Service. Yes, it will likely be weird at first, but we are living in a weird time. Let the familiar ceremony be for you a connection to your community. Let the words be an opportunity for the Spirit to bring a new energy into your life.