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The Last Supper?

Yesterday’s assigned Gospel lesson was the story of the resurrected Christ walking along the road to Emmaus with two disciples who didn’t recognize him until he took bread, gave thanks for it, and broke it.

At Virginia-Highland Church, we celebrate communion every Sunday. That is unusual for a United Church of Christ congregation, but it is becoming less so. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and the Disciples of Christ all celebrate communion weekly. The Protestant Churches that do not are in the minority.

Most churches gather around the table of grace each week for a feast. Although I grew up in the Methodist Church, which celebrates communion on the first Sunday of the month whether you need it or not, I think my soul would dry up without sharing the sacrament every week or “as often as we gather.”

In some traditions, communion is simply the commemoration of the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples before he was arrested. If that was the case, though, it seems we should observe it only at Passover each year. Jesus’ Passover meal with his family of choice, however, was not his last supper.

  • The disciples, gathered in an upper room without Thomas, suddenly found the risen Christ there among them.
  • A few days later, they were gathered again for a meal, and even Thomas was present when Jesus showed up.
  • In yesterday’s story, Jesus is revealed only when the disciples invite him to break bread with them.
  • John’s Gospel ends with a fascinating story about the disciples fishing. When they came to shore, the risen Christ had fixed them breakfast.

Perhaps the point of all this is that whenever we gather and break bread the risen Christ is there. For me, those are sacred times, whether it is a holiday meal with my biological family, Friday night with my family of choice, or there at the table with other followers of the Way. Each time seems so precious that it is holy and blessed with the very presence of the Divine.

This week, whenever you “break bread,” take a moment to remember this story and look around for Jesus. Who knows what might be revealed.





Rev. Michael Piazza

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