Scripture: Mark 14:12-26
Key verse: (25) “Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Reflection: Through my almost sixty-eight years of living embedded in the Presbyterian Church, I have participated in many, many celebrations of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper — the Eucharist as it is known throughout the Church Universal. Most often these have been somber events, almost mournful, generally with music that feeds a sense of grief, of loss. The focus is on the death of Jesus, the sacrifice he makes on the cross.
Indeed, the setting of the Lord’s last supper with his disciples in Mark’s telling is full of pathos. Judas is at the table. All the disciples are there. Peter will soon deny he even knows Jesus. Every disciple will flee and abandon Jesus as he is led off to be executed. It is clearly a very freighted moment in Jesus’ earthly ministry.
As he shares the feast, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Until means something more is in store! So is this meal only mournful? Or is it a defiant declaration by Jesus that God wins — that even the betrayal, abandonment, the death he is about to suffer because he will not flee from us, because he will be faithful to God and God’s purposes to love the whole world regardless — will not defeat God’s reign?
Jesus knows he will party again with people from north and south, east and west at the feast in God’s kingdom. Jesus knows he will be at the banquet that looks like this — For everyone born, a place at the table, to live without fear, and simply to be, to work, to speak out, to witness and worship, for everyone born, the right to be free, . . . . (1)
Until! Perhaps as we gather at the table, we should be celebrating more than mourning.
Prayer: Holy One, keep our eye focused on Jesus’ promise that indeed your reign is coming. Amen.
Author: Pete Peery
(1) Hymn 769, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal, “For Everyone Born,” Text: Shirley Erena Murray, 1998
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].