In my recipe box is a card labeled “Meals the Kids Will Eat” and includes spaghetti, pizza, and hamburgers, written in exasperation when my kids were toddlers. Dinners in that season were equally exhausting, messy, sweet, and hilarious.
A lot has changed over the years—our table is bigger now, both because teenage legs are long and there’s often a few extra friends joining us. There are rarely leftovers. And we’re often trying to squeeze in meals between practices.
Mealtimes establish a connection which will someday transport our kids back to this time we’ve spent around our table. They’ll remember specific meals, but also the emotions and significance of time spent together.
Just before He was arrested, Jesus sent two of His disciples to make preparations for the Passover. It would have been a familiar ritual they had grown up celebrating. I wonder how Jesus felt as He sat down for that Last Supper. Did He picture Mary rolling out the unleavened bread, putting the bitter herbs in a small dish? Did He think of Joseph, who had led the family through the liturgy each year?
As they sat down together, Jesus looked at His disciples and said, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:14-16, The Message Paraphrase).
Jesus, who knew more than anyone else what was about to happen, took the time to be with His disciples. He took what was familiar and brought new meaning to it—declaring it a New Covenant. A new way to live.
I wonder how the disciples later recounted that Last Supper? Because after that, everything changed. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter denied Christ. Jesus was arrested and crucified, then rose again. Familiar rituals and familiar foods ushered in the most turbulent and amazing event of their lives.
It causes me to fall in love with Jesus even more, as I think of His last meal and the intimate way He nourished their souls as He prepared to die. This Holy Week, may you find deep hope in the words of Jesus. May you see, smell, touch, taste, and hear reminders of a God who nourishes our souls daily.