Jesus said to them, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?” Luke 22:35a
This time of year I enjoy preparing 5th graders to receive Holy Communion for the first time on Maundy Thursday. I spend four weeks with the students studying what our faith tradition says about Holy Communion. I tell them the story of Moses leading God’s people out of Egypt once Pharaoh finally released them following the ten plagues that God sent. We talk about that final plague; when God sent the angel of death to claim all the first-born children in that land. I explain how Moses told the people to paint their door frames with the blood of the sacrificial lamb so the angel of death would pass over their homes and spare the life of their first born. How they were commanded to remember that night of the passover, when their children were spared and then they were released from the bonds of slavery and began their 40 year exodus through the wilderness to the promised land.
Time and time again on that journey Moses needed to remind his people that God would provide for them. And God did provide. The Red Sea was parted for them to flee from the Egyptians, God sent a pillar of cloud to guide them by day, and a pillar of fire to guide them at night. God sent manna (bread) and quail (meat) to feed them in the wilderness, and brought water from the rocks that they might drink.
It is the Passover celebration that Jesus is celebrating with his disciples on the night Jesus says the bread and wine he passes around the table are his body and blood. Jesus is becoming the sacrificial lamb for God’s people for all time. While the Israelites were still in Egypt, it was the blood of the lamb spread on the wooden door frames that saved God’s people. Now Jesus will become the sacrificial lamb, and his blood will stain the wooden cross that will become the symbol of God’s saving grace for all people.
“Did you lack anything?” God sent bread, meat, water, forgiveness, healing, life and salvation. The disciples know the answer to the question Jesus is asking is, “No, God provided.” But they cannot know the extent of how much God will sacrifice on their behalf in just a few days.
And you? How has God provided for you? Do you remember to tell the story as God’s people remembered the story of the Passover each year, and as we remember Jesus’ sacrifice when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper?
Eric Burtness quoted Sue Monk Kidd, “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” (The Secret Life of Bees)
In our Sunday bulletin under the last part of our worship titled “Sending” is the reminder from Scripture:
Go home to your friends and family, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you… Mark 5:19
A prayer for today from Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart form that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
thought I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me.
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.