Monday after the First Sunday in Lent
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. Mark 14:12-16
This passage describes the events of the afternoon before Jesus was arrested and crucified. Jesus had somehow already initiated the preparations for the Passover meal, and here he instructs two of his disciples to complete the preparations for this last, crucial meal with his friends. In order to complete the task given them, the disciples had to keep their eyes open for the man carrying the jar of water, and carefully follow Jesus’ instructions.
As twenty-first century followers of Jesus, our task follows the same pattern. In Scripture, we have the general outline of Jesus’ instructions for us, summarized for us in our baptismal covenant. The general outline of the task Christ has given us includes continuing in the apostle’s teaching, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers…persevering in resisting evil…proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ…seeking and serving Christ in all persons, and striving for justice and peace among all people (BCP, 304-5). Yet, in order to understand how each of us is to apply this general outline to the specifics of our daily life, we must keep our spiritual eyes open. We must look for those mysterious signs indicating that the Spirit of Christ has gone ahead of us, preparing the way for us to do God’s will. Lent is a time to slow down and cultivate those spiritual senses that allow us to see where Christ is moving, what Christ has been preparing for us to do to further God’s kingdom. Through Scripture reading, regular participation in the sacraments, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines we are learning see what God is already doing in God’s world. When we can perceive that, all we have to do is get on board.
A prayer for mission, to be said after receiving the Eucharist
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we thank you for the Sacrament of your son, Jesus Christ, his body in this bread, his blood in this cup. We thank you that you sent your Holy Spirit to reveal the light of Christ’s presence to us in Word, in Sacrament, and in the prayers. May your Spirit kindle in our hearts, warmed by the Sacraments, the fire of Pentecost. Send us out now to do your will. As you have fed our spirits, feed also our imaginations to see you acting the world, so that we may witness to your great and mighty deeds. Amen.
The Rev. James Stambaugh
Church of the Holy Apostles, Penn Wynne