A Poem for Maundy Thursday’s Table

A Poem for Maundy Thursday's Table

Maundy Thursday Communion Poem 3-28-2018

Maundy Thursday Communion Poem
March 29, 2018
Bob Stillerman

When last we gathered at this table,
There was talk of transfiguration.
Jesus glowing in a white robe,
Moses and Elijah, too!
And we wondered what to make of all this mystery.

But don’t get caught up in all the spectacle.
Mark’s story has simplicity.
Beyond the mystery is a clear set of instructions:
“This is my son, the beloved, Listen to Him.
Don’t just see Him, hear Him!”

So on February 11th, we broke our bread.
And we drank our wine.
And we promised to do so in Remembrance of Him.
We made a pact: We’ll pay attention to who’s missing at this table;
And we’ll pay attention to the conversations that are missing, too.

On Valentine’s Day, another school shooting.
But it was far away from Charlotte.
We still had the privilege of safety.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn.”

In Charlotte, there is a huge discrepancy between rich and poor.
Upward mobility is not a reality. Poverty is systemic and generational.
And yet the wedge protects us.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor.”

Addiction. Divorce. Depression. Loneliness.
These are things we don’t like to talk about.
And people don’t run road races to fund research on their behalf.
But the silence of our neighbors speaks volumes.
Jesus said, “Blessed are you who weep now.”

A quarter of our school children are hungry.
And too many more young people are locked up.
We say we value choice.
How many of our choices are based on survival?
And how many on privilege?
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

We fill out forms: for taxes, for census, for SATs.
For loans, and for physicals, and even for a Facebook profile.
We’re lucky though – we seem to check the boxes society likes.
What happens when we don’t meet the criteria?
Jesus said, “Blessed are the persecuted.”

“This is my son, the beloved, Listen to Him.”

He invited us to a table.
An equalizer.
An oasis from the nonsense of the world.
A place where no topic is taboo.
A place where no person is a stranger.
A place where even those who betray are offered trust.
A place where imperfection steadies one for a moment of pure presence.
A place where bread and wine break down rigid barriers.
A presence that’s just as palpable as it was two millennia ago.

He gave himself to the disciples. (And to you and me, too!)
He told them that He loved them. (And He tells us, too!)
He told them to love each other. (And He tells us, too!)

What a conversation it must have been!
Maybe they shared remarkable things.
Maybe they shared silly things.
Maybe they played a game of two truths and a lie.

It matters not. What does is this:
Tables transform the world.
Tables steel us for Friday.
Tables carry us through Saturday.
Tables beckon us to Sunday.

Do you wanna help roll away the stone?
Then start tonight.
Join a neighbor at the table.
Have a conversation.
Find empathy.
Find common ground.
Find faith.
Find resolve.
Find confidence.
Find Jesus.
And listen to Him!


Rev. Bob Stillerman has served as pastor of Sardis Baptist Church since 2015.

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