Holy week, maunday thursday 201
A Recipe for Remembrance
Here is a question for all the food experts among us: What edible product contains
carob bean gum, guar gum, corn syrup, soybean and cottonseed oils, culturedcream, salt, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, whole wheat flour, riboflavin,gelatin, carrageenan, cheese cultures, modified food starch, molasses, xanthangum, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, cinnamon, vanilla, skim and pasturizedmilk, niacin, iron and thiamine mononitrate.
You are absolutely right if your answer is “Sara Lee Classic Cheesecake.” For most
of us nonexperts, this is a mysterious list of ingredients. But to the baker, who is in on themystery of their relationship to each other, the ingredients are highly intelligible.1
Good cooks are like good musicians, I think. A good musician learns the rules first.
He practices major and minor scales until they become something that he doesn’t eventhink about. She practices patterns of rhythm, counting them out carefully, until she playsthem naturally at sight. And then the musician learns how to break the rules creatively
If you want to learn to bake bread, you learn the rules. It takes flour, yeast, salt, and
liquid to make a proper loaf. Mix the wrong proportion of these ingredients and you mightget anything from a hockey puck to the blob that ate Knoxville!
Tonight’s reading from the Old Testament is a recipe, a recipe for remembrance.
It is a particularly appropriate lesson to be read on Maundy Thursday, the day in theliturgical year when we remember and reenact the last meal that our Lord ate with hisdisciples. Jesus was a devout Jew, as were his disciples. They were gathered togetherfor the Passover Meal, a meal which had its origins in the story unfolded in our readingfrom Exodus.
New Testament scholar Gail O’Day says that “[t]he Passover feast, . . . is a day of
remembrance, in which the worshiping congregation remembers God’s deliverance of themfrom slavery. The feast brings to active memory both their old life as slaves (that they musteat the lamb in haste) and their new life as liberated people of God. It is as this people thatJesus and his disciples gathered to celebrate the Passover together, . . .”2
That is, of course, what we are about here this evening. We are a worshiping
community, drawn together around our Lord’s table, remembering and reenacting ourdeliverance from sin and death. Because we have been freed from the power of sin anddeath (however we may respond to that deliverance) we also celebrate together our newlife as the liberated people of God.
(Series A, 1998-1999), 262.
A young boy and an old man were seated together on a dock fishing. They were
talking about many things: why the sunset is sometimes red; why the rain falls; why somecreatures live in water and others require air. As the old man was baiting the boy’s hook,the youngster looked up at him and asked, “Does anyone ever see God?” The old manreflected for a moment as he looked out across the sylvan lake and the lush foliagesurrounding it and answered: “Son, we can’t see God, but we can see where he hasbeen.”3
In remembering and reenacting the Passover meal that our Lord shared with his
companions, we see where God has been. We see where God is now.
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