Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

After Dinner

March 28th:

After Dinner
March 28, 2013 (Holy Thursday)
Call:    Luke 22: 7-13
Text:    Luke 22: 14-23, 28-34
Read: Luke 22: 39-65

            After Dinner

[Luke 22: 14-23, 28-34]

It was time to celebrate the Passover.

So Jesus, in his own inimitable way,
   Made preparations
   For himself and some of his closest friends to celebrate
And with a meal.

Now, the Passover was a Holiday     - A religious holiday

It was a time to remember a great gift from God
   An event that freed the Hebrew nation
   From slavery to their Egyptian masters
And put in motion their opportunity for the Promised Land.

People must have been excited to be in the group that gathered.

Now, I am not entirely sure of how many were gathered.
   It may have been just Jesus and the Twelve
      Da vinci thought so
      Others think it might have been more
But it was     at least Jesus and the Twelve.

[short pause]
On Sunday it will be time to celebrate Easter.

So, in my (albeit not inimitable) way
   I have made preparations
For myself and some of my closest friends to celebrate
And with a meal.

Now, Easter is a Holiday
   A religious holiday

It is a time to remember a great gift from God
   An event that freed all of us
   From slavery to our sin and transgressions
And put in motion
our move to the Promised Kingdom

It will be exciting to be a part of the group
interestingly and coincidently also a group of thirteen -
that will gather at the Best Western less than 72 hours from now

I am not entirely sure
of how many people will gather in that place.
It will undoubtedly be more than just me and my 12 friends
But at least it will be me and those Twelve.

At the Passover meal, Jesus addressed those with him
   Telling hem how he had looked forward
to sharing this meal with them
   telling them that this was the last time he would do so in this world
   telling them through the bread and the wine
      that he would be put to death
      giving himself up    willingly      for them.

Now, my goal this week has been, and continues to be
To help us appreciate emotionally as well as intellectually
what happened 2000 years ago
   by placing us in the position of the disciples,
          our predecessors in doing the work we are expected to do

And so, imagine that you are at my table on Easter Sunday
   - And some of you will be -

We have gathered with excitement
   Anxious to celebrate God's goodness to us.

And then I stand up and say
   "I have looked forward to this meal
      Because it will be my last meal with you
   And the two services earlier today
were the last that I will lead as your pastor.

Effective later today the Bishop has relieved me of my appointment.

My removal results from untruths and lies spread by a member of the congregation
   In fact, that parishioner is sharing this meal with me.

After talking it over with Marge
   I have decided to save the congregation a divisive battle
   By electing to not contest the removal.

Please know that I love you."

I suspect that by the time I say that I love you
   Everyone at the table would be looking at each other
   Wondering which one of them it could be who would have done this.
I believe that the people with me would be stunned and hurting
   Some would be angry and would want try to fight it
Perhaps one would even say (like Peter at the Passover meal),
   "I will fight it to the end even though it costs me dearly."

I use this imperfect illustration because
   Of the timeliness of a meal as celebration of a religious holiday
   And because of the coincidence of the numbers.

I use it despite
the fact that it is not fair to compare the loss of a job to the loss of a life.

I use it despite
the fact that the difference between me and Christ
makes the difference in the elevations of Mt. Everest and Death Valley seem insignificant.

I even use it despite
the fact that some here or at Sunday's dinner table
might respond, not with sadness or hurt
but with the excitement that there would be a new pastor coming soon.

Still despite its flaws
   I think this fictional example gives us a hint of what it must have been like to have been a disciple at that holiday meal.

Jesus uses the meal to tell
his closest friends,    his most significant students,
and his companions for the last three years

   "Guys, this is my last meal with you until we meet in heaven
   for my body is going to be broken and my blood poured out
   This is going to happen because one of you betrayed me.
   And I am going to let it happen because it is the only way to save you.

That was the dinner.
   The dinner we remember during our Holy Communion
   The dinner to remember how good God has been [pause]

After dinner, things proceeded as he said they would.

Liturgy for Holy Thursday (2013)

P: He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount
of Olives; and the disciples followed him ...he withdrew from
them about a stone's throw, knelt down and prayed, "Father,
if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will,
but yours be done.  When he got up from prayer he came to the
disciples and found them sleeping because of grief ... "Get
up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial."

Con:  While he was still speaking (to the disciples),
suddenly a crowd came and the one called Judas, one of
the twelve, was leading them.  He approached Jesus to kiss
him; but Jesus said to him, "Judas, is it with a kiss that you
betray the Son of Man?"  Then Jesus said to the chief priests,
the officers of the temple police, and the others who had
come for him, "Have you come out with swords and clubs as
if I were a bandit?"  Then they seized him and led him away,
bringing him into the high priest's house.

P: Peter was following at a distance.  A servant girl, seeing
him in the firelight, stared at him and said, "This man also was
with him."  But he denied it.  A little while later someone else
on seeing him,said, "You also are one of them."  But Peter said,
"Man, I am not!"  Then about an hour later still another kept
insisting,   But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are
talking about!"  At that moment, the cock crowed.  The Lord
turned and looked at Peter and Peter remembered what the
Lord had said to him.  And he went out and wept bitterly.

Con:  Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock
him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and kept asking
him, "Prophesy!  Who is it that struck you?"  They kept
heaping many other insults on him.

P: That's what happened after dinner.
   And things would get worse the next day.