Solomon doesn’t want us to wait too long to remember the importance of God. This passage should speak loudly, even yell, at young people today. Sadly, I could recognize myself in some of the “older” traits Solomon describes here. The outward signs of aging are becoming more of a reality for me. Yet, most of the time, I am in denial that I have reached and passed “middle age.” Thankfully, I remembered long ago how important God is to me. Solomon just confirms that significance.
But whether you are young or old, it is never too late to give devotion to God. He wants to be the ruler of our lives no matter what age we are. I think Solomon worried that the older we get, the more set in our ways we become and making changes can be hard. If we aren’t already remembering God and thinking of him regularly, it can get harder the more time passes.
What would you have to eat if you knew it was your last meal? How fitting that the Passover meal would be Jesus’ last meal! As we continue to journey with Jesus to the cross, today we read about Jesus’ final meal with his followers, also celebrated as the “Last Supper.” You can imagine the aromas of roasted lamb, herbs, and wine mixed with the smoke of the oil lamps lighting the space. Remembering this intimate time Jesus spent with his friends is referred to as “Maundy Thursday” in the Lutheran tradition I’ve known since childhood.
The verses that precede the ones you just read in Luke’s gospel reveal how Satan entered Judas Iscariot to be the one who works with the chief priests to plan Jesus’ arrest. We’ve already seen how those religious leaders have been obsessed with ridding themselves of Jesus. You can imagine how thrilled they were to have one of Jesus’ own followers come forward offering to help…for a price.
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.
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.
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!