“A Lord’s Supper Story” – Continued.
“Lock the door! Darkness has fallen! No one else can enter in!” the Elder shouted, and the door was locked.
After this announcement, Bishop Daniel stood before his people and motioned for everyone to settle in, draw close, and pay attention. “Welcome everyone. We’re so glad you are all here, and everyone made it in, because tonight is very special, and perhaps this night is God’s key to it all, as we enter into the Lord’s Supper, and His Table.”
“For some of you this is your first “Lord’s Supper” on the Passover date.” The Bishop’s eyes fell for a moment on Daniel and his family, and another family present, before continuing. “Your children will have questions, and you will have the chance to explain very important spiritual truths. But this brings up my first topic of discussion, for a change is coming, and I do not think we are going to be able to stop it.”
If it were not silent before, it was now, as the Bishop had the full attention of every person. Was there news concerning the latest Christian persecution? Whatever it was, from the sound in Bishop Daniel’s voice, it must be of utmost importance. The people waited.
“As you know, this House Church has always followed the teachings of Bishop Polycarp, who was discipled by the Apostle John, and taught to observe the Passover in just the way we have always done it; but changes are coming, and they are not small. The Bishops of Rome have been pressing to go this way for quite some time, but we have steadfastly refused. Now they have their eyes on big buildings, large congregations, a short-form Lord’s Supper, and an Easter celebration that ends on Sunday. With changing tides in the air of Rome, these Bishops see their chance coming. They are pressing for the Bishop of Rome to be the one Pope, a title we have not approved of ourself, but he would become the “Holy See” over all, and all other Bishops would be expected to follow his rule, to maintain unity, or be excommunicated.”
“As you can imagine, this will have many effects, including the eventual loss of the Home Church which is so conducive to the Lord’s Welcoming Table, and a closeness we have always enjoyed. So be aware of these things, and as I now will pray and we begin our meal together, this meal symbolically representing the slaying of a spotless lamb, be sure to share with your brothers and sisters, and we can begin to discuss such things as are coming, and prepare ourselves to know what is right, and do what is pleasing in our Lord’s sight.” With that final statement, Bishop Daniel paused, taking one last look around at the flock, and then bowed his head to pray. This was the prayer of thanksgiving and blessing upon the meal about to be partook.
As usual, the fellowship during this time was rich. It was also a time of checking on the family. Usually, if a family was hurting, it could be detected. It was not just about laughing, hugging, and putting up a good front. It was real. If you were hurting, the family wanted to know. Food was passed around with special note being taken of any who seemed to not have much. But also, added to this night was talk of the changes Bishop Daniel had spoken of, along with reminders of why they were here this night for this purpose. Through the blood of Christ, each person here was safe from the Death Angel. After the meal, they would all partake of the Bread representing the Lord’s body, and the Cup representing his blood.
It was a very solemn occasion. Bishop Daniel took the time to explain how the Lord’s Supper, the Passover meal, was a yearly reminder of Jesus great sacrifice to set us free from our captivity to sin. How it was in the death of the sacrificial lamb that each family was saved from the Death Angel. The Passover meal was all about the Lord’s death on that cross, a people set free, and an evil Pharaoh defeated. Tonight was not about the Lord’s resurrection, but about His great love to embrace our Cross, and now we look at His passion for the world, and we enter that same passion, and that same cross.
If anyone was worried about passing so many hours from sundown to midnight, they should not have been so. So much sharing was accomplished in those hours. Each also reminding each other to try and imagine a real Death Angel flew over those houses that night. This was real! In the middle of the night wailing began being heard from the Egyptians, as they awoke to find loved ones dead! But the houses with blood on the doorposts, forming the sign of the cross even as it was applied, were safe.
Elder Joe also walked around encouraging everyone not to take God’s blessings for granted. God has saved us from an eternal judgement. We start our new year by reminding ourself of the curses of Pharaoh, the death of God’s first born Son, and how serious our life in Christ is. Jesus laid down His life for His Bride, even as God’s Word says a man is to love his wife, and give himself for her, even as Christ gave himself for the Church.
There were times of singing and worship, and times of questions and discussion. The night was passing far too quickly. But finally, Bishop Daniel stood to speak again. “Do not forget,” he began, “that Moses instructed the people to keep their clothes and shoes on, and have their staff nearby, ready to go. God had said they would be thrust out by the Egyptians with haste! And it happened just that way, while it was still dark, they were told to leave now! Before we decide to kill you! And they left with such haste there was no time to even add leaven to their bread! After this Passover meal, the Jews entered seven days of unleavened bread, and it was to always be a part of this Passover feast.
In God’s Word, leaven always represents sin. As we have begun this new year, we have the chance to embrace God’s passion and His glory even more than the year before. Let us get the sin out of our life, and live holy unto our God. As you practice the next seven days of unleavened bread, pray and ponder about these things. I want to thank everyone for coming tonight. As usual, a basket is by the door for free-will offerings. We do have needs in the body, and some were made known here tonight. If God has blessed you with extra, obey God in what you should give. With that said, I will ask Elder Joe to dismiss us, and do not feel you have to rush out of here like the Israelites had to. A better sacrifice has been made for us than the blood of any animal, and we rejoice in our High Priest Jesus tonight, and we do remember his death, until He returns. Amen.”
Then the Bishop gave the Elder a nod, and a final prayer was prayed. Everyone gave hugs and slowly made their way out into the night. Some families walking together until paths parted with final hugs and handshakes.
Eli felt such a peace inside as he stared up into the night sky, with his little family. Another whole year laid ahead of them now, but he felt very good about the way they had started it. In the years to come, his children would grow up, and House Church would be just a memory for them. They would speak of the closeness they once had. They would question the direction of the current Church, but for the sake of unity they would continue on…until they did not…until such a darkness was upon them that no other choice was possible…and many would be the splinters of the church…and many the cold stone buildings…short-form Lord’s Suppers…and lack of knowing your brother and sister…even to the point of many falling through cracks no one spoke of.
I hope this short story helped. So much more could have been written as far as the many ways those hours from sunset to midnight could have been passed, in which the time would fly. Also, the many things which could be taught from both the Passover in Moses day and the comparisons to what Passover includes for us today. This story was only meant to give a glimpse of the possibilities. To cover it all would require a book.