Love Never Fails : How a meal can heal us

The night before Jesus was crucified, he shared a meal with his closest friends and followers. He took a basin of water and a clean towel. He poured water on dry, filthy feet, cleansing them, refreshing them, preparing them for the meal.

When everyone was cleansed and ready for the meal, Jesus took bread, broke it into pieces and served each one.

This is my body, broken for you.

He took a cup of wine. Offered the drink to wash down the bread, one after another, drinking from the cup.

This is my blood, spilled out for you.

They had to be confused. Jesus was the leader, not the servant. Why was he doing the work of a servant? His body? His blood? What does that mean?

They couldn’t have imagined the events that would unfold over the next several hours. A friend betraying him, guards capturing him, the inquisition, the trial, the angry mob demanding he be crucified. A whirlwind of events, all happening without any time to take it in, to process it, to plan a defense or an escape or rescue.

And then there was Peter. I imagine him standing out in the cold, ears trained toward the council chamber where Jesus was being interrogated, hoping he could overhear something about what was happening inside. He sees a fire burning and warms his hands, trying to occupy himself while waiting for news.

Hey, haven’t I seen you hanging out with that man? 

Nope, not me. I don’t know him.

Yes, I’m sure of it. I’ve seen you with him.

I have no idea what you’re talking about!

Hey guys, you’ve seen him with that Jesus, haven’t you?

I DO NOT know this man you’re talking about!!

Then as the rooster crows signaling the early morning dawn, Peter remembers.

Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.

If I’m Peter, I’m thinking, “I can’t believe I just did that. What an idiot! How did I let that happen? I’m such a coward.”

Days later, Peter and some of the other disciples are out on lake in a boat. It’s morning, and they’re hungry. The smell of fresh fish grilling over a fire fills the air. There on the shore, they see the resurrected Jesus tending to the meal, smiling and waving them to shore to share another meal with him.

The leader, serving his friends once again.

Peter, the one who just a few days before had rejected and abandoned Jesus, is invited to share a meal with his master. There is no shame inflicted, no reminding of his failure, no berating for his shortcomings.

Come, have something to eat. I cooked for you! Let’s enjoy this meal. Let me serve you.

Richard Rohr writes, “… he says, in effect, ‘Peter, it’s OK. Forget it.’ The risen Jesus initiates table fellowship with Peter…”

The healing power of a meal. Jesus was intentional about this. He prepared his disciples before his death over a meal. He consoled an ashamed Peter by inviting him to once again be in the good graces of table fellowship. He set an example that we get to follow.

I love the sharing of a home cooked meal with friends and family. Around the table, barriers come down, conversations turn sweet as we linger at the table. It’s sometimes healing, most often relaxing, and always satisfying.

The ritual Jesus modeled for us we now call The Eucharist. It’s not just a wafer and grape juice at church. It’s the meal shared with others, coupled with remembering Christ in our midst, that makes the meal sacred. It’s this remembrance that reminds us that Christ loves us so much that he became sin for us so that we might be forgiven. His love is unending. His love is for all of us, no strings attached. His

Love Never Fails.

Love Never Fails

This is the 30th post in my series Love Never Fails for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge. You can click here to go to my introduction page and find links to all the posts in the series. Also, if you’d like to receive these posts directly in your inbox, just enter your email address in the bar to the right. I promise to never share your information.

 

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