the time is set aside, planned for, and completely committed.
the best of the best is on display - the special untouchable plates, the favorite foods, the odd iridescent hats and noisemakers that seem to make no sense whatsoever on other days - but on this day they are appropriate. they are exactly what the moment warrants.
what we celebrate is what makes us. it is what shapes us. the things we're willing to throw out the best of the best in food and drink are the things that broadcast the tiny details of our very souls.
what we celebrate shows the world what gives us life, what centers our existence, and what wakes us up in the morning.
when we lose the ability to celebrate, what we've lost is a grip on life itself. we've lost the capacity to understand joy. birthdays still take place, even during chemo. or divorce. or family conflict.
joy comes whether we are joyful or not, the question becomes how we receive it. can we celebrate when celebrate is the last thing we want to do?
Jesus celebrated Passover, a sacred moment in Israel's history when they were freed. liberated. given life in a place where they grew to expect death.
but he celebrated Passover in the wrong moment - when he had mentioned someone close to him would betray him, after repeatedly letting them know he would be killed.
the darkness had grown heavy around these simple men. the celebration had to be bittersweet. like a birthday party after a divorce, a new job when a son enters rehab, or college graduation after the passing of a loved one.
we toast in slight hope, with tinges of beauty but smudged with confusion and doubt. yet we toast.
and yet the disciples celebrated with bread broken in joy, wine poured in hope and thanksgiving.
the reason that communion, Eucharist, or the Lord's Supper is so important for us today is not because of something magical - which it can be - or something mysterious - which it most definitely is more often than not.
the importance of celebrating body and blood is because most of us don't feel like celebrating. we don't see a reason, a season, a moment worthy of joy and putting out the good china.
and yet there is Jesus - holding bread and wine, saying "Celebrate. Come. It doesn't feel like it, but it's time. You need this. I know you need this. Take the bread, take the cup, and know that the valley of the shadow of death is a stop, not a destination."
what are you celebrating today?