Of Bread and Brethren

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“Till we meet at Jesus’ feet . . . God be with you till we meet again,” the voices echo in the church’s vestibule. These words often have a difficult time escaping my mouth. Now tears creep into my eyes as our small congregation sings this profound song, holding hands in a circle that encompasses the presence of the Lord. The song has become more difficult for me to sing through the years because some of our older members have gone to rest in Jesus and are not with us to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

Togetherness has always been what the Supper was about for me. Even as a youth, when schedules were hectic, I encouraged supper at the table with everyone together. Now as a mother of four, I hope to continue this practice. Ending the day together with the ones we love is a vital tradition.

Our Lord understood this. When I read about Jesus partaking the Last Supper with His disciples, I often wonder what it might have been like for Him to know that was His last meal with them. Jesus told his disciples “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you . . .” (Luke 22:15). However, there was such misunderstanding among the disciples regarding the events to come. It must have been a solemn and confusing, yet beautiful, moment.

In his Gospel, John writes that after Jesus ate and drank with His followers, He rose, laid aside His garments, and girded himself with a towel. Pouring water into a basin, He began the process of washing the disciples’ feet, demonstrating His great love for them (vv. 4, 5). As the Supper drew to an end, He told them, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (vv. 34, 35). Throughout His ministry, Jesus showed us the great importance of loving one another.

For me, the Lord’s Supper embodies the desire of togetherness and the command to show love. When my oldest child was around two, she attended the Lord’s Supper with us, and she accompanied me to the women’s foot washing. She quietly sat in a chair while I washed someone’s feet. In mid-washing, I paused to check on her, and I witnessed a tender moment of an older woman in our congregation washing my little girl’s feet. My daughter’s eyes sparkled with a quiet joy of inclusion, and in that moment I witnessed the kingdom of God. It’s the pure love shown for others in an act of humility.

I marked my calendar for this year’s Lord’s Supper just a few days after the close of last year’s. I anticipate taking the emblems in memory of all the Lord has done for me and for the grace I received that allows me to see His love. Just as those from my congregation who have gone to rest, Jesus told His disciples that He would not eat or drink until the kingdom of God comes. One day, God will tell Jesus to go get His children, and we will all be gathered around a banquet table with our Lord and Savior. We will fully understand all things and see the fulfillment of His sacrificial love.

Whether this Lord’s Supper is our first or last, it is a preview of what awaits us one day. While we wait, may we “desire with desire” to break bread with our brethren and strive to serve them with an unconditional love.

 

Kristin Gonzalez works in Student Services at Artios Christian College, and writes from Claremore, Oklahoma where she attends the Church of God (Seventh Day) with her husband, Gerson, and their four children. Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

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