On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. Matthew 26:17-19 NIV
Today has been a whirlwind of activity at the church for me. A very different Maundy Thursday from the past.
There was no Sanctuary to prepare … no alter decorations … no last minute music details.
No one but me. I have spent the day recording, editing, uploading all the services for this Holy Week. The work is done and now we wait to celebrate and remember together … virtually.
I have been thinking of the Passion narratives and a comment made this week in an online Bible Study I lead. This week is filled with ritual and routine. Anticipation and remembering.
The same was true for Jesus. I hadn’t thought much about the idea that Jesus has already planned everything. And when it came time there was Jesus …
When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. Mt 26:17-30 NIV
Perhaps our efforts are easier on a day like this … in a time like this … because we do our work in advance … knowing that Jesus will show up tonight as we gather around the virtual table already set and waiting for us to partake.
We also know that the tomb will be empty come Sunday and we will celebrate the hope of resurrection.
Maybe if we could keep the anticipation of Easter alive during the week, it would change how we prepare each and every week for Worship.
The anticipated encounter with the Risen Savior tends to change how you act.
Oh and that thing from Bible Study?
Well we were studying Leviticus – I know exciting stuff?!
As we looked at all the rituals and practices outlined in the book, I asked, “What does ritual mean to us today?”
I expected comments about how the rituals of this week would be missed, etc, etc
And then from the blank square (voice only on a Zoom Meeting) came a profound observation:
“I’ve always thought of ritual as preparation for worship. I wonder if we have lost our love of ritual in a culture of instant gratification?”
Perhaps we are getting a reset on our thinking.
Taking the time to prepare.
More family meals – less microwave specials.
More intentional planning of our time … and our worship.
May we discover the ritual of preparing … and may we take the time to be prepared for all the activities of Easter … and our worship.