Maundy Thursday in Lent: Sacred Moments with God
by Steve Claris
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:14-20)
The drive around Conehatta, Mississippi, was a scouting mission for Volunteer in Mission (VIM) work sites. Many VIM teams visit the tribal lands of the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw Indians and do home repairs. Henry, my Choctaw friend and Tribal Facilities Manager, was introducing me to needy folks in his neighborhood. As we cruised the roads of the community, the conversation migrated from a mundane to-do list to matters of faith.
As a lifelong Christian, Henry is now nearing retirement and is concerned about the future of the Choctaw people. He has participated in their struggle to rise above poverty. Once, the Choctaw had been described as the poorest people in the poorest state. Life was hard, "but people were more kind, giving, and helpful toward each other. Nowadays everyone wants to be paid for every little thing." People seemed to be forgetting their heritage.
Through military service and other employment, Henry has experienced other cultures and "learned the white man's ways" but he is no less a Choctaw now than that little boy, sixty years ago, learning about Jesus from his Grandma.
Thousands of years ago, Jesus earnestly desired to celebrate the Passover with his closest friends. During that last supper, he created the first Holy Communion, a sacrament of remembrance. Today, we remember God's love for us before we could love ourselves. We remember the struggle, the pain, the suffering of Christ before our captive souls were set free. We remember the peace of the Spirit entering our hearts--we really are children of God!
Or do we foolishly let ourselves be caught up in a frenetic soul-numbing pace of life, texting, chatting, or twittering away what would have been a precious moment with our Creator/Redeemer/Sustainer. Are sacred moments with God on my to-do list as a Church and Community Worker? Just asking the question is a step in the right direction.
Constant gratitude, remembering the provision of the Creator, is a key part of Native American spirituality.
What if we let ourselves be caught up in a constant, soul-feeding, life of gratitude? And that gratitude birthed generosity and compassion? What if we remember all the sacrifices made to bring us this life of grace? What if we remember to live as "little Christs" so that others can see a different way of living? What if we always remembered we are children of God?
Well, we would be living a great adventure and be nobody's fool, April or otherwise.
Steve Claris is a Church and Community Worker with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, serving with the United Methodist Choctaw Mission in Mississippi, in community outreach and leadership development.
Date posted: Mar 26, 2010