From Ordinary to Extraordinary

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Deuteronomy 22-24; Mark 14:1-26

MaundyThursday

22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.25  I assure you that I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way in God’s kingdom.” 26 After singing songs of praise, they went out to the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:1-26, Common English Bible).

All too often, we have become so accustomed to eating the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, we don’t give much thought to where it came from or why. Sure, we who worship in more liturgical settings tend to go through the words on a fairly regular basis, but we have heard it so many times, many of us just don’t pay much attention anymore.

When Jesus sat down with the disciples for what would be the first Holy Communion, it was already a special time. It was the Passover. This day was the highest of Holy days for the Jews. It still is. As a part of the Passover celebration Jesus and the disciples at the traditional Passover or Seder meal. God gave specific instructions for the preparation of this meal and the meanings for the various elements.

For our purposes today, these various parts of the meal, while important, are not part of our focus. We are looking at two parts of the meal that even as part of the Seder meal, participants might well have looked past them to the more important elements.

Bread and wine were common components of most any meal in the Biblical era. For many people, still today, they are common meal elements. They are plain. They are ordinary.

Many people today still enjoy some kind of bread with their meal. For people of Jesus’ day bread was more than a side dish to the meal. Bread was an edible utensil. Without it, the meal might not have been possible.

As the supper progressed, Jesus took this common, ordinary part of the meal and he did something extraordinary with it. He held up the bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples. So far, there is nothing unexpected there. As practicing Jews, the disciples would have known the appropriate words to go with each part of the Seder. But Jesus didn’t say those words. He blessed the bread and said something extraordinary. He said, “This is my body, broken for you.”

In the traditional Seder, there are four cups of wine. The third cup is called “The Cup of Blessing.” According to tradition, with this cup, Jesus took the ordinary, wine, was also an ordinary part of a meal in Biblical times. Even today we generally want something to drink with our meal. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 10:16 says, “16 Isn’t the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Isn’t the loaf of bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ” (CEB)? Many scholars lift this verse up as evidence that Jesus used the third cup of the Seder, the Cup of Blessing” to do the extraordinary saying, “This is my blood of the covenant, poured out for many.”

Placed in the hands of God, even the most ordinary can become something extraordinary. They become something so extraordinary that 2000 years later, they are still remembered and celebrated today.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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