The Words of Sacrifice

The Words of Sacrifice

communion bread and wine

Today is Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday when we commemorate the foot washing (maundy) and the last supper of Jesus Christ. During the meal Jesus institutes the Eucharist by the words of sacrifice:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven. I tell you, I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Then, after singing songs of praise, they went to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26: 26-30, CEB, emphasis added)

Jesus lived his life sacrificially and we are called to do the same. Also our lives need to be taken, blessed, broken, and given to others. What could this mean? How can these words of Jesus help us to understand what sacrificial living really is all about?

Eugene H. Peterson explains in Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places that Jesus takes what we bring to him as our offering. It is the first movement of the Eucharist. God does not force us but he accepts us as we are and takes our free-will offering. Whatever we bring to Jesus, he offers it to God with thanksgiving. This blessing gathers all of us and everything we are into everything that Christ is and does for us.

But our gifts don’t remain what we bring, explains Peterson. God is working deep within us, beneath our surface lies and poses, to bring new life. The breaking of our pride is not a bad thing; it opens us to saving action. Just like Jesus was broken for us, we need to be broken in order to serve others. Then Jesus gives us back what we gave him, who we are. But it is not the same any more. It has been changed into grace. Everything we give to Jesus, is given back multiplied.

This offering, blessing, breaking, and giving is what sacrificial living is all about. It is the way to partake in Jesus’ suffering. It is the way of salvation. It is the way to God.

It is all grace.
It is Christ in us.
It is the salvation life.
It is the abundant life.
Thank you, Jesus!

 

Gracious God,
We bring ourselves to you.
Take us as we are.
Bless us as we are.
Break us as we are.
Give us away as you please.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How could you practice sacrificial living in your every day life? How could your life be taken, blessed, broken, and given to others?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you give your life to Jesus as a living sacrifice!

Image courtesy of Danny J. Linking up today with Thought-Provoking Thursdays.

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