On Maundy Thursday, I’m always glad that by the time Acts 2:42 came around, the Church had decided that the mandate of Jesus was around the bread and wine, the body and blood, the Eucharist, the great thanksgiving and not the acts of service in washing one another’s feet. Feet are gross, no matter how pedicured they may be.
So when I read the Maundy Thursday Gospel narratives, I’m always drawn toward the institution of the Lord’s supper and the various ways that tradition gets passed down by the Synoptics, by John, by Luke in Acts and by Paul in his letters. This morning, as I read over Mark’s account, I’m struck by Jesus’ closing remarks, words that do not get repeated in any Eucharistic Prayer that I know of.
“”I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
Most read this as an eschatological statement from Jesus, the promise of his Second Coming, but I have a different take on it. In his divinity, Jesus, a full and co-eternal member of the Godhead, exists outside of space and time (as Wayne reminds us, the BCP calls this “in the fullness of time.”) In his humanity, Jesus, joined with our humanity, experiences the effects of time and space. That is to say, we can only experience the eternal God by way of chronological time. So when Jesus says, “I will not drink again until I drink it anew in the kingdom of God,” we think some far off time, but what I think Jesus is saying here is that when he lifts up his spirit, when he descends to the dead, when he waits in the tomb, he will drink of the fruit of the vine because the kingdom of God is at hand.
Tonight, Christians around the world will come to the Table to drink anew the fruit of vine. We do so with confidence and assured of eternal life because Jesus has drank it anew and brought forth the fullness of his Kingdom on the cross.
So come, brothers and sisters, and drink of the cup of abundant life that has been secured in Christ Jesus forever more.