Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Words of Institution
Matthew 26:17-30 Commentary
by Stanley Saunders
The Lord’s Table is the founding practice from which the church grew.
Before there was church, there was table, where sinners and saints, disciples and outcast, believers and betrayers gather to remember, to anticipate what is still to come, and to embody together the restoring and unifying power of God. The Lord’s Table is living theater, the communal enactment of unity amidst diversity, rooted in who God is and demonstrating where humankind and creation are headed.
Because this is the definitive story of the church’s foundational practice, it reaches both forward and backward, into both the story of Israel and that of Jesus. Covenant is renewed even as it is about to be broken again. Betrayal, judgment, and the breaking of Jesus’ community intertwine with promise, forgiveness, and hope. Even the bread and cup are multivalent symbols that convey both judgment and redemption. The unleavened bread of Passover recalls Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery, the bread of daily fellowship, and the abundance of the messianic banquet, ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 359: Words of Institution/Crucifixion
April 18, 2019
Podcast on Matthew 26:17-30 and Matthew 27:27-61, the Narrative Lectionary readings for April 18 and 19, 2019 (Words of Institution and Crucifixion) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.