How many “lasts” have you experienced?
The last day of school.
The last time you saw a loved one.
The last chemo treatment.
The “last” does not have to be sad, but it is usually memorable. It is an event that remains ingrained in our hearts and minds.
Jesus came to the table, knowing this would be his final meal; it was literally his last supper. But it was meant to remembered forever.
It is touching that Jesus made this profound moment so accessible. It tells me that Jesus wanted to ensure that this particular gathering could be enjoyed by people across the globe. He took a basic need – eating – and elevated it so participants could receive a heavenly glimpse of fellowship, love, and support. Jesus chose the simplest elements – wine and bread – and transformed them into a powerful moment of blessing.
There is a universal appeal to breaking bread – whether it’s cornbread or rice cakes, whole grain or gluten-free – together. When we eat and share together, we are offering one another sustenance that comes from God.
Blessing and breaking bread was the last communal act Jesus shared with his disciples. It was also the first way Jesus revealed himself to traveling disciples following his resurrection. “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him” (Luke 24:28). Jesus entered into their despair and turned it around when he nourished their bodies and fed their spirits.
It’s easy to make this more complicated than it needs to be. We could engage in dry church-y arguments about “transubstantiation” and the real or symbolic presence of Jesus in the elements.
But that would miss the point. Jesus wanted to give himself to his followers. At its simplest, this last supper depicts Jesus sharing himself with all who came after him.
“Do this in remembrance of me,” he tells us.
We can remember and give thanks.
And then we can pass that blessing along.