Jesus has given up his spirit. Joseph of Arimathea goes to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus so it can be buried before sunset. Surprisingly Pilate sets aside Roman rules that people convicted of treason cannot be buried. He calls the centurion to confirm that Jesus is dead as a crucifixion can take up to three days and it has been only six hours. Mark 15:44-45 tells that the centurion confirms the reality and perhaps confirms that he knows this is a man worthy of a decent burial. Pilate agrees and releases the body.
Tonight churches will celebrate Maundy Thursday by distancing seats at churches, by zoom and streaming, and also gathering in outdoor spaces. The different Christian traditions may vary on how they interpret the events of Maundy Thursday and the Last Supper but they all agree that three major things happened that were eye opening. Jesus washed the disciples feet, demonstrating servanthood. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, communion, the breaking of the bread and sharing of drink. Jesus gave a new commandment that we love one another as he was about to show us love in the cross.
In the Last Supper, we are charged to “remember”, “do this in remembrance of me.” What do we remember at this meal? We remember the connection Jesus makes between the breaking of the bread and the breaking of Christ’s body that he is about to experience. We remember the connection he makes between the drinking of the cup and the spilling of his blood. We remember that he is willing to forgive our sins. He is as close to us as the bread that builds our bodies and the drink that flows into our mouths and bodies. He is that close. He “gave” his life, it was not taken from him. He gave his life for us “for the remission of sin,” for our forgiveness. Even as Pilate turns over the body of Christ to be buried only to rise, the pastor or minister gives communion to people who become carriers of the truth of Christ.
Today spend time remembering the meaning of your faith and the gift of forgiveness. An acronym takes each letter of a word and writes out another word that starts with that letter and has the meaning of the main word. So for example, write down the side of a paper “thanks”. T is for “time” with loved ones. H is for happy memories of … Fill in your words now and thank God for providing forgiveness.