I love intriguing titles, and seeing those of our speaker, Howard Page-Clark, set me thinking, maybe it's the same for you; “Abraham entertains three men” (Gen. 18:1-15), "Jesus has a different sort of lunch" (Jn 4:4-35), "The disciples prepare a supper, which Jesus hijacks" (Jn 13:1-15) and "Jesus cooks breakfast for the disciples" (Jn 21:2-19). All that talk of meals led me to share about saying grace, as a preparation for the main courses to come, at the Friday evening gathering.
We were reminded that Jesus often "gave thanks", in keeping with Jewish tradition, and not least at the Passover, but that this was not just for the food, but a thanksgiving for those present, for family, and for salvation as well. (The Jewish "Berakah"). This at the beginning of a meal, the bread being used symbolically. At the end of the meal the host or chief guest would give a further thanksgiving, using the last cup of wine. So often when we take communion in our churches, we miss this extra significance; Jesus broke the bread and said the Berakah, “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the world, who bringest forth bread from the earth”, after which the meal took place, with all the time, conversation, laughter and everything else. And then, when He gave the longer thanksgiving at the end, a much more poignant moment, thanks for them, His Father, his ministry, maybe in a way thanks for us! The invitation in the Berakah is "Let us give thanks", a communal action, and concludes with an "Amen".
It crossed my mind how often we take a communion service without realising how much more it entails - perhaps these thoughts can help us find deeper realisation in the future.