The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” – 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 (NRSV)
Tomorrow is Good Friday, when you’ll hear the story of the Crucifixion. It will be sad. It will not tell you what you ought to do now.
On Easter, you’ll hear the story of the Resurrection. It will be happy. It will not tell you how to act now.
On Maundy Thursday, Jesus tells us what to do. The orders he gives are clear, embodied, easy to follow. It may not always be clear why we should do the things, but the things themselves are clear. Wash each other’s feet. Eat this bread. Drink this cup. Remember me. That he also says confusing things, like that the bread and his body are the same, hardly matters. Because even if I’m confused, I have things that I and my body can do, simple and concrete and sanctified, to pass the time until it all comes clear.
Tomorrow will be about misery, sacrifice, death. Sunday will be all life and joy and impossibility. And I will have little to no idea what I’m supposed to be doing with my body as I hear about it. But today—today is about feet and water, towels and toes, bread and teeth, drink and tongues. Today is about blessings made of atoms, sanctification that fits into basins and hands and bellies.
Those I know what to do with.
For the blessings of basin and plate, cup and belly, thank you. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.