Formations Lesson for November 2: The Table Set
October 17 2003 by John Norman Jr. , Focal Passage: Matthew 26:7-30

Formations Lesson for November 2: The Table Set | Friday, Oct. 17, 2003

Friday, Oct. 17, 2003

Formations Lesson for November 2: The Table Set

By John Norman Jr. Focal Passage: Matthew 26:7-30

Preparing for Passover Matthew 26:17-19 The observance of Passover has always been important for those belonging to the Jewish tradition. It provides a time to remember the death angel's "passing over" the Hebrews when they readied themselves for liberation from Egypt.

Through the preparation and sharing of the Passover meal, God's act of deliverance is remembered and passed from one generation to the next. The elements of the meal symbolize the hardship experienced by the Hebrews at the hands of the Egyptians, as well as the freedom they were given by the hand of God. The significance of Passover was equally important to Jesus.

However, the life, death and resurrection of Christ gave new meaning to Passover, as he transformed a meal already laden with spiritual significance into a symbol of communion for His followers.

Self-examination is Part of the Supper Matthew 26:20-25 The implementation of the Lord's Supper recorded in Matthew brings to mind that we should examine ourselves before we partake of the meal. Truly, none of us are worthy to eat at the table of the Lord. Many of us take for granted that we should receive the elements when they are passed.

We may rationalize that we are just as good as anyone else participating in the meal or maybe even better than some of the people participating in the meal. No one wants to be Judas, but the same spirits that infiltrated him are often alive in us -greed, manipulation, jealousy. Being given the chance for self-examination allows us to search our souls for those things that separate us from God and others. It is a time to reflect and seek forgiveness.

Christ's Death and the Forgiveness of Sin Matthew 26:26-30 "Take, eat; this is my body. Drink ... this is my blood." These words of Jesus should run cold chills down the arms of Christians to this day. When we hear these words we envision the lifeless body and spilled blood associated with the cross of Christ.

The Romans accused the early church of cannibalism because of stories connected with the Lord's meal, but the first century Christians understood these words to refer to the forgiveness of sin found in the sacrifice of Jesus. They confessed that through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, God had taken responsibility for the sin of the world and made a way possible for the world's redemption. The Lord's Supper is a symbol of God's gracious gift of reunification between us and God.

In the film Babette's Feast, a wayward stranger named Babette arrives in the midst of a small Christian community on the coast of Denmark. Fleeing war torn France after the loss of her husband and son, she enters the service of unmarried sisters who work diligently to keep the memory and mission of their deceased father alive. Babette learns the ways of the close community, cooking meals of fish and bread stew and worshipping with them on Sundays. When news comes that Babette has won the French lottery, she determines to prepare a meal for her friends to honor the life of the community's founder.

As the meal takes shape, the pious community members decide to eat the meal out of courtesy to Babette, but determine not to enjoy it. When the meal is served to 12 guests sitting around a table, the feast is so delicious the gathered cannot help but enjoy themselves.

Unbeknownst to the community, Babette served as head chef in one of France's most prestigious restaurants, and has now spent her entire winnings to serve the people she loves. In the midst of the meal, broken relationships between the community members are restored and hope returns. Through the gift of the meal and fellowship around the table, a sense of transformation springs forth anew among the group.

When we observe the Lord's Supper, we once again enact a drama that plays itself out in the world - people starve for spiritual nourishment as well as physical sustenance. Communion should remind us that God cares for us body and soul. Christ fed the multitude with loaves and fish but also offered the crowd the bread of life. As followers of Jesus, we should minister to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness as well as those who hunger for food.

10/17/2003 12:00:00 AM by John Norman Jr. , Focal Passage: Matthew 26:7-30 | with 0 comments
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