One people

Wasn’t the pandemic supposed to be over?

Wasn’t the election supposed to heal the divisions between us?

How’s that working out?

We’re still deeply hurting as a nation, as people.

I’m convinced that the message we proclaim here—and try to live—contains the best hope for our hurting world.

Since 1933, Christians around the world have set aside the first Sunday in October as World Communion Sunday. Back then, Nazism was on the rise in Europe. The US and much of the world were in the grip of a Great Depression.

It was worse then than it is now.

And so church leaders said to the world that, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are all one. Christians from every culture eat the bread and drink the cup to remember and affirm Jesus Christ as Head of the Church.

We come to the table to take this great reality into the center of our being.

In our lesson this week, the Jews had gathered to celebrate the Passover as they still do today. At the Passover meal, the host speaks from a text called the Haggadah. The host takes a piece of unleavened bread, and says, in part, “This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry, come and eat. Let all who are needy, come and celebrate Passover.”

But when Jesus gathered with his disciples, he reframed the Passover meal for his followers for all time. instead of saying the usual words, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to his disciples. He said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks, and offered 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.”

Jesus was saying, “This is the bread of my affliction.”

The Exodus would no longer be the defining moment in the history of Israel. Jesus was saying “My death and resurrection—this is the defining moment—not just for Israel, but for all people in all times and places. My death and resurrection, symbolized by the cross, that’s what sets you free.”

Jesus is saying, “You don’t need to remember the Angel of Death.” “Remember my death.”

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