|Four Fold Action, jfd+ 2008|
Mathew provides us today with the central action of our Eucharistic Prayers (our Great Thanksgiving Prayers) in today's Gospel selection.
Jesus is at the table with his friends. The one who is betraying him has left the table already. Mirroring what he did at the mass-feedings, Jesus performs the four fold action that encompasses the Eucharist. Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
He then tells them this is their last meal, and they sing "the hymn" together (unspecified hymn @ that). Then they go to the Mount of Olives where he says all will abandon him, Peter refutes that, Jesus tells him no, three times will Peter abandon him that night. Peter says no again, And so said all the disciples.
Such bitter sweetness in these nine verses. The beauty of the central action of our worship, surrounded by the very human and painful unfulfilled-optimistic-hopefulness of Peter and all the disciples, balanced by what we know comes later - - resurrection. Every time we pray A Great Thanksgiving prayer, this poignancy is present, and has the ability to transform us from our own unfulfilled-optimistic-hopefulness, into a piece of the kingdom-creating-people to which we are called.
Verses from Psalms 42 & 43, assigned today, can assist us in making those grace-filled moments a more permanent part of our lives:
As the deer longs for the water-brooks,
so longs my soul for you, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God;
when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?
Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?
Why are you so disquieted within me?
Put your trust in God;
for I will yet give thanks to the One,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.
Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me,
and bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling
That I may go the altar of God
to the God of my joy and gladness,
and on the harp I will give thanks to you, O God my God.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.