No Pressure, a message for Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday April 13th 2017
Exodus 12:1-4, 5-10, 11-14, Psalm 31:9-16, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 , John 13:1-17, 31b-35
(In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
So I shared this at our mid-day Lenten worship service last week, that each Sunday I feel this immense pressure to create an epic worship experience and deliver a life changing sermon for all who gather here. (I’m sure my colleagues feel the same way)
Now on one hand this pressure and nervousness is healthy, it keeps me on my toes and it reveals to me that I care. But it can also be full of stress and be debilitating.
So there are two ways I help relieve some of this pressure with some self-coaching…
Number One, I remind myself that all this is NOT about me. It is not the “Will Rose Show” and our job… calling… is to always point to Christ and to do our best to not get in the way.
Number Two, I remind myself that no matter what, because we celebrate Holy Communion here every Sunday, you will always hear and taste and experience good news.
So yea… There may be days when the sermon bombs.
The music may not connect with you just right.
The prayers may hit a political nerve.
But during our worship together you will always hear the good news of Jesus saying to you,
“This is my body broken for you.”
“This is my blood poured out and given for you.”
While we all navigate a busy, cluttered, noisy, and broken world, each Sunday we hear, witness and experience the Divine drama and good news of Holy Week.
Every week we sing the Hosanna of Palm Sunday, welcoming Jesus into our midst.
We hear of the sacrifice Christ made for us with his own body and blood.
We are offered a new start and new life “in, with and under” bread and wine at this table of grace.
And then we are sent out into the world to love one another as Christ has loved us.
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
So no matter what happens Holy Communion reveals God’s grace given to us in Jesus.
There is a lot going on during this particular worship service, there is a lot happening over the course of these Great Three Days… but tonight the main message happens at this table with broken bread and poured wine.
We remember when Jesus washed his disciple’s feet, how he showed them and us how to love one another. We remember our Lord’s last meal before going to the cross for us.
BUT this is not just some distant memory, nor a “last supper” for us, rather this is where Jesus continues to meet us in our daily lives. It is where the ordinary and common elements of this world; Bread, Wine, You, Me… is infused with the Divine.
This “matter” matters.
Your “matter” matters.
Every time we gather around this table a new chapter begins, a new step in the ongoing journey of faith and discipleship.
A little while back, in one of Pastor Mark’s sermons he shared that when St. Augustine shared Holy Communion he often said, “Receive who you are, go become what you have received.”
In other words, when we receive Holy Communion we “become what we consume.”
You are what you eat.
When we receive and consume the Body and Blood of Christ in Bread and Wine, we are infused and we digest Love incarnate.
So the newness of this commandment isn’t Love, Love always has been and always will be,
what is new is that Love has become incarnate in flesh and blood for us,
that this Love in bodily form, washes our feet and feeds us with his own body and blood, and now this Love invites us to become what we receive. To love one another as Christ has loved us.
I’m sure you feel pressure in your daily lives as well.
With the many and competitive voices telling you how you should look, or who you are supposed to be.
Even within the expectations that come with faith and discipleship.
But at this table of unconditional grace there is no pressure.
Just receive Christ himself with open hands and open heart.
Yes, in the gift of faith there is a calling.
It comes with responsibilities.
Loving one another, and loving like Christ, is not necessarily easy.
But you are invited to come to this table, as you are, to savor the grace of God.
“For as often as you eat the bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
Seriously, no pressure.
This is good news indeed.