It was to have been a Passover Seder, an observance of God's goodness and faithfulness in freeing the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt. But it became much more.
It became the last remembrance of an Old Covenant and the first Lord's Supper of the New Covenant. Christ asked that this Seder meal now be celebrated in remembrance of Him as He was about to become the bread and wine of a new and fuller freedom. The breaking of bread was to remind His friends of His broken body. The pouring of wine was to remind them of His blood poured out. What must they have thought? "Do this in remembrance of Me," He said. He was asking them to remember future events.
It all came to pass just as He had tried to tell them it would. He had spoken of His death at various times during His time with the disciples. They often responded with a rebuke or some heroic claim concerning their own loyalty if such a threat were actually to come to light. And in the end, only one of them stayed around to watch Him die.
After His death and burial, after the breaking of His body and the gushing of all that blood, they gathered to grieve and discuss all that had happened. Surely, they all grew hungry. And what must that first breaking of the bread and pouring of the wine been like? Do you suppose they remembered His words in the midst of those simple, familiar acts? I suppose they did. And I imagine they wept.
And after the tomb was found to be empty, do you suppose they remembered His words then? How painful and confusing was that remembering? And when He came back to them and broke bread with them again on the shore, serving them with pierced hands, do you suppose they remembered His words?
No meal eaten after the final Seder meal they shared with Him could ever have been without remembrance. Every bite of bread, every sip of wine would, over time, over many meals at many tables, bring back to their remembrance all of His words and all of His actions. And now His words would be remembered with understanding. Those remembrances launched a new world order.
Every meal we share in His name, every Lord's Supper, is a remembrance and a celebration. Christ meets us in that meal every time. Every time, we remember the debt of honor owed Him as the God/Friend/Savior who gave His life so that our lives could have meaning and purpose. Every time, we remember that His presence brings order from chaos and meaning from loss and pain. Every time, we remember that He does this for each of us. Every time, we remember that death has lost its sting because He is life eternal and life itself. Every time, we remember that we are not worthy to utter His name and yet He calls us friends and wishes to meet us at the table. Every time.