"In Remembrance of Me" - I have never had such a high anticipation for Easter weekend before. Growing up in a non-denominational church I had never, until this year, participated in the Lenten Season before. But since the first of the year I've been going to a Methodist church and have be amazed and excited about all the tradition and form that is involved with each service. I used to make fun of the "boring and completely impersonal" service. Now I see how, even though scripted, each service intentionally points me and my worship to my Savior. The calculated efforts of the form and the tradition keep my mind focused on the cross and not on the church. So 44 days ago on Ash Wednesday I thought about this weekend and what it entailed. I thought about what I was giving up for Lent and every time I have wanted to have a beer after work or out with the guys since then, I have thought about this weekend and the sacrifice of Christ. I have been thinking about this weekend and the significance of what it means to me as a Christian. I have been reading Mark and studying the life of Christ. I have been listening to some great old hymns that reflect on the cross and the suffering that Jesus endured for my sake there:
"O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine."
"What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul."
"When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.
See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? "
I have been reminded that there is more to this life than anything I can imagine. There is more to each day than just getting on to the next. There is something incredibly mysterious and mystic about the faith that I profess to and it is something I strive to attain and will strain to reach for my whole life. (Phil 3:11-14)
I have been excited about Easter in a way I never have before. It is a celebration of the most important day in the history of the church, but so many times it is something that in the past I have only thought about briefly until it was actually Easter morning. With Christmas, I start thinking about that in early fall and get wrapped up in it as soon as I finish my second plate of turkey and wake up from my nap on Thanksgiving.
Last night I went to the Maundy Thursday service at church. It was a service focused on the remembrance of the Last Supper, the night before Good Friday. The last time that Jesus spent with His disciples before he was betrayed and taken to be torture and to die a sinner's death. It was a night of intense emotions, a night of highs and lows, a night of fellowship and service with best of friends, a night of betrayal and disowning only a few hours later by the same crowd. Jesus knew that this was why He came to this world, but even He didn't want to go through with it. The passion with which He wanted out of the deal was enough to break down his body on its own, but then to have sleepy friends and a back stabbing disciple, wow.
But at the service, taking communion and thinking about that being the act that the Lord Jesus asked us to do in remembrance of Him, it meant more. Communion is the one thing that every denomination agrees on because it is the one of the only things that was not left open for our interpretation. The ecumenical implications of Holy Communion are incredible. In all the churches that I have attended, it is something that every church, of every denomination, in every part of the world, has been a part of. It is something that everyone that calls themselves a Christian and identifies themselves with Christ has taken part in. It is how we participate in Christ and remember the sacrifice of His body and His blood. It is the Body and Blood of Christ, broken for me.
"Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all."