Jeremiah 31:31-40 – New Covenant

Read Jeremiah 31:31-40

Hebrew writing with quill and ink

How strange this idea of a new covenant must have seemed to Jeremiah and those first hearing this prophecy. The old covenant had been in place for generations, but it had been broken. As it says in Hebrews 8:7, “If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it.”

Jeremiah speaks of the new covenant that will be ushered in by Jesus himself. Reference to a new covenant speaks of a future far beyond the end of the exile. The hope of restoration will not be fully realized until the Messiah comes.

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1 Corinthians 11:17-34 – The Lord’s Supper

Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Jesus' Last Supper

There are so many ways to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Have you ever done so in a home or in a park? I know my husband, as a pastor, has been doing in-home communion visits for all of his ministry career. Those moments were often treasured by congregants who could no longer make it physically to church. My own father is now one of those who looks forward to his monthly visit from a couple of church friends now that he’s in a care facility.

What did you think of Paul’s take on it? He seems to add a dimension that many people may not reflect on regularly. I don’t think I’m the only one grew up not knowing about the part of being “rightly prepared to receive this sacrament” (as in Luther’s Small Catechism). It makes a lot of sense.

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Luke 22:7-53 – In the Garden

Read Luke 22:7-53

Jesus praying in the garden

My focus today is on what happened that night in the garden. But, before we reflect on that, it’s good to remember what happened right before. Jesus had just shared the final meal he would share with his closest friends. We recognize the elements of our present day sacrament, Holy Communion. So many truths were revealed during the meal, I’m sure the disciple’s heads were spinning.

Jesus’ response to all of that was to pray. It sounds like praying in the garden was a regular thing. This time, Jesus was hoping the disciples would to stay awake and ponder all that was happening. Jesus knew that he needed his Father more than ever this night. I try to put myself there in the garden, too. With all that Jesus had just shared, I don’t think I could have fallen asleep!

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John 14:1-14 💗 Jesus is the Way

Read John 14:1-14

deserted country road with a rainbow in the distant horizon

Even Jesus’ own disciples couldn’t see the whole picture. Admittedly, it’s a big ask to accept that seeing a man, their friend, means they’ve seen God. That’s why it can be hard for us, who have not spent weeks and years in Jesus’ physical presence, to wrap our minds around the fact that Jesus is God.

This whole scene takes place on Jesus’ last night with his friends. It’s like he’s trying to pack everything into his last few hours. So much is about to happen that will totally rock their world, their faith. Jesus is doing all he can to help them, and us, be ready for the onslaught of the world’s lies and deception.

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Mark 14:10-16 – In Remembrance

Read Mark 14:10-16

Jesus’ last supper with his friends. Bittersweet indeed. I titled this “In Remembrance,” but did you notice this telling of that special night did not use those words. I injected flavor from another account. If you have never read the accounts of this momentous occasion in any of the other gospels, Matthew 26, Luke 22, and even 1 Corinthians 11.

This passage is the foundation for what we do in churches all over the world. We celebrate Holy Communion. In the church I grew up in it was a “sacrament,” an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular. We remember this moment, the covenant come true, in our times of worship.

Different traditions view the bread and wine differently. Again, I grew up believing the bread and wine were Jesus body and blood. This text would totally support that. In Jesus’ own words, “Take it, for this is my body.” and “This is my blood,” Other traditions would say it’s a symbol. I try not to get legalistic with it, but I believe that what Jesus said then is also true for us today, and the important thing is to remember him.

Celebrating Holy Communion has always been special for me. My earliest memories include people filing up to the front of our church and my mom’s “wine breath” after her time at the communion  rail. I  was always intrigued and couldn’t wait for my turn. Our tradition was that preparation and understanding came before taking part. Having an understanding and appreciation for what Jesus did for us makes the celebration all the more special.

Today’s passage helps us to see that what happened to Jesus was for us. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many. More recently, we attended a church service here in Mexico where neighborhood children attended Sunday School during the church service, except during communion. It was at this time they were brought in, going first before the congregation. None of them spoke English, despite the service being in English. Tears rolled down my face as I watched these darling children, with such innocence and joy, approaching the altar for their gift from Jesus. Their celebration and remembrance of what Jesus had done for them was inspiring. We should approach the throne of grace with that attitude of gratitude.

Take a moment today for a reality check. On a scale of 1-10, what is your devotion meter saying? Remember what Jesus has done for you – the suffering, the crucifixion, a trip to hell, and finally coming alive again. All for you. What is your response?

Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, my heart is overflowing with gratitude and joy for what you have done for me. I thank you for your great love for me. May I not take it for granted. Ever.  Forgive my heart when doubt creeps in. Forgive me for my distractions from you. Thank you for making me the confident, strong and smart woman you have made me. May my words and actions be to your glory and pleasing to you. Continue to move in the hearts of my children to bring them closer to you.  That is my prayer today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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