Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Guest Room: A Maundy Thursday Meditation

So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go in to the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ (Mark 14:13-14).

“The teacher asks: Where is my guest room . . .” That’s a good question.

We have a guest room in our home. From time to time it has actually been used to accommodate a guest. Most of the time, however, our guest room serves as a multi-purpose-stick-it-in-here room. The guest room is a hodge- podge of this and that, a holding cell for all manner of household detritus. But then someone comes for a genuine overnight visit. And we prepare the guest room, make it homey, clear the clutter.

Walking down the hall today one of my co-workers asked me, “Are you ready for Easter?” It was a conversation in motion, so I don’t think my friend wanted a lengthy discourse in response to her question. I simply replied, “I’m trying to get ready.” I’m sure her question was aimed at the preparations for Sunday church activities: worship, worship, and then worship a few more times. There’s plenty to get ready for. But my answer was more about my own readiness. I didn’t explain all that. Maybe she knew. But that’s where I’m at right now. I’m trying to get ready.

On the day we know as Maundy Thursday, Jesus shared a last supper with his disciples. Most of us know about the supper. We never give a second thought to the preparations. Those sacred moments – “My body broken for you, my blood shed for you” – those moments of being in the company of Jesus didn’t drop out of thin air. Preparations were made. Some disciples were charged with the task, aided by an obscure homeowner and a random guy carrying a water jar.

The key question: “Where is my guest room?” That’s what Jesus wanted to know. That’s what Jesus wants to know now. He asks that very thing of you and me.

We often come to Easter with cluttered lives: some rushing to get back in town after a spring break trip, some planning a big lunch or worried about being on time for those reservations and getting cute pictures of the children in those new clothes with their Easter baskets full of various chocolates and fake grass that drops all over the house. Yes, we can work hard at getting ready for Easter . . . only to find out that what we got ready for wasn’t truly Easter.

Perhaps today – Maundy Thursday – can be a day of making preparation. The kind of preparation that matters. Jesus wants to be present with us this weekend. Jesus loves to show up at worship services and lunches and family gatherings and even egg hunts.

We simply need to make room. What kind of space will you prepare for the living Christ this Easter? The teacher is asking: “where is my guestroom?”

For Today:
What will you do today to prepare yourself for Easter? How will you make room in your life for the living Christ?

We ask you, Lord Jesus, for the help of your Spirit as we prepare for Easter. Help us to make room for you within ourselves, as well as within our schedules and plans. We want to know your living presence among us in these days. Help us to be a people who share in your sufferings for the world and rejoice in the hope of your resurrection. Amen

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