In the stress of conflict and impending arrest and torture, Jesus did not consider such an evening of fellowship optional or expendable. And he knew what physical, concrete creatures we are, how we need to be anchored in the rhythms of community and remembrance. How we need the drops of deep red wine, the tang of bitter herbs, the texture of shared bread, to understand reality. And how we need each other, how meals bind. These friends would soon desert him, but in the act of this meal he affirmed his love and set the tone for bringing them back together on the other side.
And so this year once again we relive the Passover, a doubled vision backward of the Exodus and the Crucifixion, and a peek of vision forward to the Supper of the Lamb. Holy and deep with analogy and meaning, but also immediate and accessible in the familiarity of a dinner with friends.