Friday, April 12, 2024

Swapping Stories

Communion is a solemn event in many of our churches. It's a quiet moment, when we take time to "reflect" on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. We grab our cracker and our little bit of juice (or wine), we bow our heads, we block out everything, and we sip. (In some churches, I know, one walks forward to a communal place and partakes, but individually.) 

So I think when we think about what it must have been like in the Upper Room, we get a sense that it was somewhat like this: solemn. We picture that when Jesus took hold of the bread and started reaching for the cup, He cleared His throat and made things...awkward. And the entire room of disciples sat quietly, with bated breath, waiting to hear what He would have to say next. 

It was a holy moment. And we assume that means it was a solemn moment. 

But the Passover was a time for telling stories. It started with the story of how God performed a series of miracles in Egypt...well, miracles in Goshen and plagues in Egypt...and how He led His people out of slavery and into the Promised Land. That's not a solemn story; that's a joyous story. That's a fun story.

And if you're anything like me, one story turns into another story pretty quickly. You hear one detail in the story someone is telling, and that reminds you of a time when.... So you start telling another story. And then someone else hears a word that ticks off their memory, so they start telling another story. And before you know it, you're sitting around telling stories like old friends who went to war together. Remembering. Reminiscing. Laughing. 

The disciples had a lot of stories. Remember what John said? If he wrote them all down, there's not a library in the world that could have contained them. They had stories. And I imagine that once they got settled into that room, around that table, talking about the incredible things God had done for His people, they probably started throwing in some other stories, too. 

Remembering. Reminiscing. Laughing. 

Yes, laughing. Telling those stories about the times they've shared together, stories they would all remember but somehow, also, have perhaps forgotten. "Remember that time when...?" Yeah, I remember that time. Do you remember that time when....? And on and on and on it goes through a whole Passover, through a whole evening. Even if Jesus made it awkward for a minute or two. By that point, the disciples just probably stared at Him for a second, then busted up laughing again and went back to sharing stories. 

Communion is a time to reflect, yes, but it is also a time to remember. And there is no better remembering than the stories that we share and that we tell to one another. There's no better remembering than taking this moment to talk, really talk, and recognize all of the things you've been part of in God's great scheme of things.

There's no better remembering than the kind that we do together. 

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