Thursday, April 05, 2007

Do You Remember? A Maundy Thursday Sermon


I preached this sermon two years ago; I share it now. Blessings my friends, on this blessed night.

Do You Remember?
Maundy Thursday 2005
1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31-35

You have eaten this meal; you have gathered around this table.
You have sat opposite the one you love, the one who loves you.
You have sat near the one with whom you are vying for position.
You have sat next to the one who betrayed you.
You have sat next to the one whom you betrayed.
You have leaned into the bosom of the one whom you knew
would not live to see another sunset….
and you have leaned close to the one whose parting
was an earthquake of surprise.
Do you remember?

You have gathered around this table of tradition,
Asking, “Why is this night different from every other night?”
“Why this food? Why right here? Why right now?”
You have eaten the familiar bread, the workday fruit of the vine,
Suddenly transformed into… you knew not what. Something greater. Something more.
Do you remember?

You have watched as the one you love, the one who loves you, took the bread.
You watched the hard-working hands handle the steaming, fragrant loaves…
Who baked the loaves?
Who packaged the flour?
Who milled the grain?
Who planted the seed?
All the work of all these hands, now before you on the table.,
And being held in the strong and gentle hands of the one who loves you
And whom you love… the taking of the bread.
Do you remember?

You have listened as the one you love, the one who loves you, blessed the bread.
You listened to those words…
“Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts…”
“Lord, bless this food to our use and our lives to your service…”
“Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu, Melech ha-olam,
ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz. Amein,”
“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe,
Who brings forth bread from the earth. Amen.”
The blessing spoken in the voice of the one you love,
the one who loves you… the blessing of the bread.
Do you remember?
You have smelled the scent of the warm loaves as they were broken
By the one you love, and the one who loves you…
Bread that is broken for you, and for those all around the table,
Broken for your nourishment.
Bread that is broken so that everyone would have their fill,
Broken, because that’s the only way bread can be shared.
Bread that is broken, so that one loaf is many pieces,
Broken, but still one loaf.
Bread that is broken by the hands of the one who loves you,
And the one you love… the breaking of the bread.
Do you remember?

You have reached out your hands to receive the bread as it is given,
Holding the warm morsels in your own hands,
Bread that you received from the hands of the one you love,
The one who loves you.
Bread that is given to you, and to all those around the table,
Given for your nourishment.
Bread that is given so that everyone would have their fill,
Given to you, one piece among many
of the loaf that was taken, blessed and broken,
by the one you love, and who loves you…
The giving of the bread.
Do you remember?

Do you remember the taking, the blessing,
the breaking and the giving of the bread?
Do you remember the taking, the blessing,
the pouring and the giving of the fruit of the vine?
Do you remember the words spoken by the one you love, the one who loves you?
“Take, eat, this is my body, given for you; this is my blood of the new covenant.”
This is my body? This is my blood?
This is the body of the one who loves you?
Do you remember?

This body and blood, which have been taken—
The one who loves you took the form of a human, the form of a slave,
the form of one who stoops to wash your feet.
The one who loves you takes this body and this blood.
Do you remember?

This body and blood, which have been blessed—
The one who loves you blessed this body, by living a sinless life,
a life for others,
a life of healing and blessing,
a life of casting out demons, and dining at the wrong tables,
a life of restoring sight to blind eyes,
and the ability to walk to broken legs…
The one you love blesses this body and this blood.
Do you remember?

This body and blood, which have been broken and poured—
The one who loves you, and whom you love, was broken.
The body was broken, hung on a tree,
Broken by hatred, broken by fear.
The life was poured out, like so much blood,
Poured out for you, and for many.
Poured out in love, poured out with forgiveness…
Poured out like water on a baby’s head.
Poured out like water in a bowl,
Poured out to wash off dusty feet and dusty hearts.
Poured out, because the one who loves you loves you to the end.
The one who loves you breaks this body, pours out this life.
Do you remember?

This body and blood, which have been given—
The one who loves you, and whom you love, was given,
Given to you, given for you,
Given to all, given for all,
For everyone around this table,
For everyone around every table.
Given so that you might be healed,
so that you might get off the soul transplant list.
Given so that you might learn to give,
given so that you might learn to live.

Do you remember? Do you remember?

You were there, and you, and you… I remember. I promise.

You were there at the taking, and the blessing, and the breaking, and the giving.
You were there eating this meal, you were there at the table.
You were there with the one you loved, and who loved you.
You were there with the one with whom you were vying for position,
And with the one who betrayed you,
And with the one whom you betrayed.
You were there, taking, blessing, breaking and giving,
And listening to those words:
Do.
Do this.
Do this in remembrance.
Do this in remembrance of me.
You were there. Do you remember? Do you remember?

Photo courtesy of Billy Reed and Flickr.

6 comments:

Mother Laura said...

Beautiful, Magdalene. Thank you.

Blessings for tomorrow's sermon as well. Hope you post it :-).

Grandmère Mimi said...

Lovely, Mags. You make clear in this poem-sermon that Jesus' whole life was poured out for love of us. Thank you.

April said...

GREAT sermon, Magdalene. GREAT. Thank you for sharing it. Now I'm ready to worship tonight!

We Do It Too said...

I do remember this sermon, and it is as much of a blesssing now as it was then. Blessed Good Friday to you today. I am sure you will preach beautifully.

Jane R said...

Dear Mags,

Thanks for your note on my blog -- yes, there is kinship between our sermons! I had actually read yours yesterday, but didn't have a chance to leave a note. So here I am again, this time visibly and with deep thanks.

Going to finish up my Stations of the Cross meditation now. Blessed Triduum. May you have some time for silence and stillness amid all the preacherly responsibility. Thanks for your poetic and prayerful gifts.

Yours in friendship,
JCR

Magdalene6127 said...

Thank you to all of you for reading and commenting. I am so grateful for your words of encouragement.

Peace,

Mags