During this time of Lent and as we approach Easter Sunday, many residents of Hickory Villa assisted living community may be reflecting on the reason for the celebration. But before the stone was rolled away that Easter morning centuries ago, a lot took place in Jerusalem over the week between Jesus' triumphant arrival and His Resurrection.
One of the historical activities related to what many now call Holy Week (the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday) was the Last Supper. This iconic upper room activity was so much more than a meal, and seniors reflecting on it this year can take away some amazing and comforting messages.
For Jesus, it was important that He and His followers enjoy this meal together. The first reason it was important was that it was a Passover celebration. Passover is a Jewish holiday and feast that remembers how God spared the Israelites in Egypt and brought them out to freedom. Jews then (and now) honor the day with a meal during which they may eat certain specific foods, including unleavened bread, and read or tell the story of their ancestors. This is one reason Jesus and His disciples had a meal together the night of the Last Supper.
But Jesus also knew that one of His disciples would betray Him and that He would be arrested. So, He used the meal as a time of comfort and to provide some preparation for His followers.
What can seniors learn from this aspect of the Last Supper? First, that meals together are important — even Jesus made time for them — and they can be a great time to draw comfort or communicate with each other. When possible, make time to enjoy meals with your friends and family.
It's during the Last Supper that Jesus offers the words and actions that have become Communion. He breaks the bread, equating it to His body, saying that it is given for those who follow Him. Then He pours the wine and shares it, equating it to His blood and the new covenant that is made formal that weekend when Christ dies on the cross and is resurrected, defeating sin and death.
From these moments, seniors can draw immense comfort. Jesus wanted us to remember Him and His sacrifice, resting confident in the knowledge that He has defeated death and sin. No matter what situation we may be facing today with our own physical bodies and lives, for those who follow Christ and accept that covenant, the best is yet to come.
Finally, Jesus shocked Peter and the other disciples by turning the tables on normal cultural conventions and washing their feet. It was an act of service, and Jesus told His followers to do what He did — to serve others.
Seniors at Hickory Villa assisted living community can continue to live out that call by serving each other and those in the nearby community in any way they are able. Service doesn't always come with a ladle in a soup kitchen; simply being kind and willing to listen to your neighbor can be service.