On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’s disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:12-25
Some folks have considered how Christ can be in our simple bread and wine, how we understand an ongoing presence in this simple gifts. As a mom of three, I know what it means to give my body for another, and I see in the features - eyes, face and hands of my grandchildren - the presence of those who they could not have known. We are related across universes, even when we are seemingly alone or far away. God's presence in the simple bread and wine is part of being family, being related, being children of the living God.
Today as we reflect on the last supper, the foot washing, and all the passion that is to come, I invite us all to recognize ourselves in the people present with Jesus. The deniers and the faithful, the friends and the plotters, the confused and brokenhearted, all were there with Jesus that night. The passion that swirled around made them all part of an eternal scene, made them all witnesses to God's love that was offered for the redemption and renewal of the whole world. And this is our family story, the story of our people.