Monday, May 21, 2012

A Last Supper for Miguel 11/17/1939--5/14/2012

Just two days before his death, Alma Jean and I celebrated the Lord’s Supper with fellow house church member Michael Rivera-Wenger and his wife Lois. Daughter Lorna and one-year-old grandson Ethan were also present for what literally became a "Last Supper."

Originally from Puerto Rico, Michael had been in failing health and in hospice care for some time, but was alert enough to recognize us and to receive with joy the bread and the cup of the Eucharist. He drank his grape juice through a straw, then expressed his desire for more, as if he knew he needed an extra measure of spiritual nourishment to sustain him through the last hours of his life.

This is my body, broken for you. 
This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood. 
Observe this supper in remembrance of me.

Michael always had a great appreciation for a good meal, and his faithful wife was a wonderful cook. So in the meditation I prepared for today's outdoor memorial service, I noted that he would especially delight in having a seat at the lavishly spread "wedding supper of the Lamb" described in chapter 19 of the last book of the Bible. An eternal last supper.

Michael also knew what it was like to be embraced by a welcoming and forgiving Father, one who puts on extravagant parties for prodigals coming home to faith and family, as he himself had done some years earlier.

Yes, whenever there is a homecoming, God delights in music, merry making, laughter and tables heavy with good food, as the prophet Isaiah declared long ago:

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,

a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.

On this mountain God will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,

the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.

The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;

he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.

The Lord has spoken.
Come home, Miguel. You've got a place at the welcome table.

It’s suppertime.
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