Two weeks ago Sunday, I took communion at church. I’ve been taking communion in the Protestant Christian tradition since my early teens. I’ve heard the same words over and over, and only on this particular Sunday did something remarkable stand out.
And he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
That was Jesus talking. It wasn’t so much what he said, but the context in which he said it. The day before he was going to be crucified… and he gave thanks.
Did he have any idea what was coming? Sounds like it – he gave thanks, broke the bread, and said the broken bread was his body.
Sounds to me like he had a good idea of what was coming.
And this was what kept swirling through my head as I sat there in my pew with my mini square of soft white bread in my hand waiting to put it in my mouth. I sat there in one of those weird world-standing-still-point moments thinking about how I could – after a lifetime of mini square breads and plastic cups of grape juice – miss the painfully obvious fact that Jesus gave thanks for his brokenness.
So often my thoughts about thanksgiving are of the warm soft kind, the being grateful for all the happy good-feeling things in life: the perfect gravy, the plentiful harvest, a vigorous walk on a cool fall day, the pie. When I think of counting blessings through the hard times, it’s not about thanking God for the hard times themselves, but about getting me through the hardness, the brokenness.
But no, that’s not what was happening at the last supper. Jesus was giving thanks for the bread broken, his body broken. He was thankful for the most horrific thing that could ever happen to a person.
And that pretty much blows my mind.