Scripture selection: Luke 22:14
“When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
Near the end, Jesus had a last supper with his friends and followers but it was so much more than a meal.
It was a sign – a visible symbol – with bread and wine – that the kingdom was coming soon. Indeed, it was a sign that the kingdom as God’s reign among them was already powerfully at work.
It wouldn’t happen they say they would think.
It wouldn’t happen by political insurrection.
It wouldn’t happen by angelic revolution.
It wouldn’t happen by the falling of fire from heaven, as some hoped.
It wouldn’t happen by Rome being overthrown and Israel being established as the greatest kingdom on earth.
Because Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world.
The kingdom would come via his dying on a criminal’s cross.
And it would happen by death being defeated by resurrection.
An empty tomb would be the sign, just as he had predicted.
But it was still too soon. They couldn’t possibly understand, not yet.
First, before the dawn, there would be terrible darkness.
The good news is that the dawn would come. It would come.
In today’s dark world – that still brings me hope.
By Paul Simrell
The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
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