Next Year in Jerusalem
When Jesus ate the last supper with his disciples, he expressed a longing. He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16).
Every Sunday, when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we remind you of that longing by saying “we show forth the death of Christ until he comes again.”
Until all is fulfilled. Until he comes again. We still long for things to be right, for the world to be right, for our bodies to be right. We long for perfect fellowship when we love each other without pain, sorrow or fear. We long to be together with each other and with the Lord. We long to have every tear wiped from our eyes.
This year, that longing will feel more pronounced than usual. Tonight, we should be celebrating Maundy Thursday with our church family. We should be hugging and thanking each other for how they have loved us through the year. Tomorrow night we should be gathering in silence and darkness, mourning the sacrifice of Christ. Sunday, we should be gathering early, watching the sunrise, singing, toasting, hugging and reciting: HE IS RISEN!
Instead we will be at home. The only tradition that remains will be the rain on Sunday. And we will feel longing, longing to be together, longing to be with the Lord. I suppose that is how we are supposed to feel.
Instead of resisting that feeling, let us earnestly enter into it together. Let us pray that we will be back together soon. Let us long for the kingdom of God to come fully. Let us beg God to make all things new.
Today, when Jews celebrate the Passover, they say goodbye with these words “Next year in Jerusalem.” They remind each other, this year was good, but it was not our ultimate hope. Maybe we should follow their example. Tonight, have a meal with your family. Read John 13 or Luke 22, say prayers, make toasts, remember the love we have in Christ. And when the meal is over, look at each other and say, “Next year with community.”