Suggestions for Family Dinner during times of isolation: for Maundy Thursday and other occasions
Most of us have more time these days to prepare dinner, so make this one special. Jesus gathered on Maundy Thursday for the Passover Meal. Passover is the special Jewish celebration of the liberation from slavery, which you can read about in the book of Exodus, chapter 12, 1-14. You could read this passage before you start cooking or before you start eating.
If you are a family, have everyone participate in the preparations, by cooking, setting the table, perhaps placing candles or other special decorations. If you are by yourself in your home, you could connect with another person over the computer or phone, while you prepare something special for yourself. If you are able to have wine, put that on the table. If you don’t drink alcohol, or don’t have any, place another beverage in a nice container on the table. Everyone should have a glass at their plate.
Pray before you begin eating. “Jesus be present as we/I sit down for this meal. Bless our food and sharing. Be with everyone in our church family at Glory, and with everyone around the world. Bring us at last into your kingdom, where we will celebrate with you the heavenly banquet which never ends.”
Passover is a celebration of freedom! So, enjoy your meal! You could talk with each other or think about what freedoms you enjoy, even as you are restricted in your movements. While the Israelites had to eat their meal in a hurry, ready and dressed to flee from Egypt, Jewish people today commemorate Passover as an elaborate feast with much joy and laughter. Let’s do the same with our family meal.
Towards the end of the meal, make sure there is something to drink in your glass, and read Luke chapter 22:14-20, (during Holy Week, you could also add verses 21 – 30).
Jesus eagerly desired to eat the last supper with his disciples. Notice that in Luke’s version of the story Jesus picks up a cup twice. The first cup represents the old covenant, the promise God made to Abraham and Sarah, to Moses and Miriam, and to us: God will liberate God’s people and bring them into the promised land. Jesus fulfilled that promise by his death and resurrection. Make a toast, and clink your glasses, as you drink from your cup. You could say what Jewish people say: “L’chaim!”, or in English “To life!”
After this first cup, the cup of the old covenant, Jesus instituted what we know as the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them and said: “This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And again, with the cup, he said: “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”.
We cannot celebrate the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, the way we used to, until we are together again in person. However, Jesus promises us that we will celebrate it again. We will be together again and see and touch and taste that the Lord is good. We hope it will be soon. We also long for the day we will celebrate that final great feast Jesus promised. As we wait, Jesus is setting the table.
You can end your celebration by saying the Lord’s Prayer, and/or the Benediction:
“The Lord bless us and keep us, the Lord make his face shine on us and be gracious to us. The Lord look upon us with favor, and give us peace.”
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Pastor Markus Wilhelm is the pastor of the Glory congregational family.