Both my sister and my parents came to visit me last year on Sunday, March 15. After church we went out to eat at Country House. There was no ketchup bottles or salt shakers on the table, and sometime between when we ordered and when our food came, news broke that all restaurants in Illinois would close the following day. I don’t remember what any of us ordered. Maybe if I had known this would be our last meal together for a long time, I would have paid closer attention. At that point, there were still a lot of unknowns. We were worried what the next few days and weeks would look like. Thanksgiving and Christmas were so far away, they weren’t even on the radar. We didn’t know this would be our last meal together for over a year.
Today the church remembers the night when Jesus had one last meal with his disciples on this side of the tomb. Today is the day Jesus insisted on washing their feet despite Peter’s adamant objections. Today is when Jesus instituted something new in breaking bread and blessing a cup after the main meal. Today is when Jesus withdrew to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray as we read on Sunday. Often called Maundy Thursday in reference to the new commandment, or mandatum, Jesus gave the disciples to “love one another as I have loved you,” today is about remembering.
To mark these events, today is normally when we would gather for a potluck meal and time of fellowship. We would read the new commandment Jesus gave to his followers and reflect on what it means. We would receive Christ’s blessing and remember the sacrifice made for us to know the meaning of grace.
Even though we’ll not gather to break bread together tonight, I pray you find a moment to stop and reflect this evening. As you wash your hands or fix dinner—as you call a friend or find a quiet place to pray, remember you are loved, remember to love others, remember the love that holds us together.