“Be Our Guest”

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Maundy Thursday is the day in the Christian year when we remember the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his Disciples.  The Church has marked this event as the institution of the sacrament of Communion and refers to it as the Last Supper of Jesus.  It has appeared in many and varied artistic renderings Da Vinci’s being the most famous.  Churches around the world will celebrate Maundy Thursday in as equally many and varied ways depending on church traditions and doctrine.  And mostly, I don’t have a problem with that but sometimes I do.

There is a lot made of ‘sacramental authority’ in religious circles.  Who can give communion and who can receive it are subject to debate in and amongst the denominations.  We spend A LOT of time debating the particulars.  On Maundy Thursday I find this problematic.  Jesus said “Do this in memory of me.”  Easy, right?  Eat together and remember me.  How hard can it be?  Shockingly (or perhaps not) it has become very complicated.  He did not say, “When you gather together in a particular place at a specific time, one among you must be duly authorized to repeat my words and distribute small amounts of bread to only those people who have been deemed by appropriate evaluative processes to receive said fragments.”  Yet that is precisely what it has become.  How very like people to take something simple like eating together to share stories and turn it into something ringed around with rules and regulations.

What if instead of being a super-secret sacrament available to the special few who meet the requirements, we threw the doors wide open?  We could instead return to the idea of meals together during which we served one another and talked about what Jesus meant to us.  We could embrace the radical notion that the meal that Jesus inspired was for everyone inside or outside the church.  All we have to do is sit down with someone and break bread (figuratively, not literally) and make that moment sacred.  What if instead of testing people’s faith and preparedness we just invited them to be our guest and sit with us in fellowship and love as we shared the meal?  What if we were instead enthusiastic about sharing of ourselves and our rituals instead of stingy?  Wouldn’t it be great if we greeted people to the sacred table with the enthusiasm of Lumiere?  We could live out of faith by welcoming people and serving them instead of excluding them or telling them they are not good enough.  We could welcome people by simply asking them to “Be Our Guest”.

Life is so unnerving
For a servant who’s not serving
He’s not whole without a soul to wait upon
Ah, those good old days when we were useful…
Suddenly those good old days are gone
Ten years we’ve been rusting
Needing so much more than dusting
Needing exercise, a chance to use our skills!
Most days we just lay around the castle
Flabby, fat and lazy
You walked in and oops-a-daisy!

“Beauty And The Beast”

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