Watch me! So many people have words. So few have actions. In the last few days, hours of Jesus life he demonstrates a “watch me” sort of teaching.
Watch him take on your struggle. Watch him take on your sin identity. Watch him feel forsaken. And this is how Christ copes. This is how Christ holds on when life is hard. He shows you how.
It would cost him everything. The prize? You and I, the fallen, sinful, messy sons and daughters of God. He sweats blood. Physical signs of stress. How does Jesus prepare to face his last night of freedom? A meal.
Relief is found in the good pleasure of companionship with his friends. Nothing is more satisfying than a meal heavy with hope and strong affection.
The set up brought joy. I’m sure the men were talking on the street about the significance of finding the room. How bold they had to be to approach a man who was carrying a pitcher of water. The household had a room, to offer Christ. How did he know it would all work out? Live the adventure of stepping toward the unknown with only a verbal directive from Jesus. Peter and John approach. I can almost hear them, “Do you think this is the one?”
Recently my son Jonah turned 15 and I planned a day of 15 challenges. I prepaid, spoke to the food truck owner, ice cream shop, and a few more telling them my son was coming. What simple joy it brought me to know he would follow my instructions and have an incredible day. (Now isn’t that a concept!) Then later that night we had a special meal at the table. It all fell the week of hosting coaches. One of them, Edilson (who we called Eddie) from Brazil mentioned craving some of the tastes of home. We made a traditional Brazilian dinner. Around the table we shared the day talking and hearing about Jonah’s birthday challenges and the coaches last day of camp.
It was one of my, “Thank you God for this moment” meals.
When life is hard. Gather at the table. Make a meal. Call your friends to come near.
Christ drew strength from this Eucharist meal. The taste of conversation can be found in Luke 22. Here is a sample of the words Christ offers around the table, “The greatest is to become as the younger and the leader as one who serves. I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assigned to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom.”
The kingdom comes in a meal. Yes, today you will find strength in gathering together in your hardest trial. My prayer on your behalf: may there always be friends who stay with you in the trial.
In a conversation with my 80 year old grandmother, I asked her what she would say to me, at my age knowing what she knows now. She said she wished she had invested more in friendship, not just her profession and family. She encourages us to set a place at our table, for family and for a few friends.