Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Preparation and Planning

Here’s something you may not want to hear, “the spiritual side of our life needs preparation and planning.” From his birth to his death, and beyond his death too, there is so much about Jesus that impacts our life. He taught and lived in a way that was extraordinary. His life caused people to dedicate their lives to making God’s realm a reality on Earth. His death showed us the extent of God’s love. His resurrection taught us that love is more powerful than death.

There is one event in the life of Jesus that has become central and deeply spiritual for many Christians. Jesus drew his disciples together in a meal. Not just any meal, but one that is strongly tied to the ideas of sacrifice and salvation, the Passover meal. The Holy Eucharist, that has become so central to our worship together, is a shared meal that draws us together, feeds us (literally and spiritually) and energizes us for mission and ministry.

In Matthew’s Gospel (26.17-22) the disciples ask Jesus, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He tells them to go to the city, to find a certain man, and to prepare the Passover meal. That supper, the one our Eucharistic practice is based on, required preparations. In fact, flour had to be milled and grape juice fermented.

The same is true of our modern celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Just think of all that has to happen: farmers planting fields of wheat and grapes; children are made to practice piano and organ lessons; singers do scales; preachers study; readers practice; servers learn; architects design; builders build; cleaners clean; bulletins printed and folded; there’s heat and light (I hope); and thousands of other of things. None of it happens by accident; it all requires preparation and planning.

So, you may not like the parish’s annual meeting but St. Paul’s would not (could not) even approximate what we are without following our Lord’s imperative to make preparations for the meal. And as you’re sitting comfortably in your chair at home during the annual meeting (Feb. 16), as the rest of us do what the Lord requires, please (at least) pray for us. 

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