I’m sure you have seen, as I have, a picture of a beautiful wedding cake. Maybe you remember your wedding cake and how you had to have one that was just right. Perhaps you have been to a wedding with a really spectacular cake. Some of them are so beautiful that you feel like you are spoiling a work of art if you cut into them. Although wedding cakes are made to be admired, they are also made to be eaten.
In reading the book “Reaching for Rainbows” by Ann Weems, I imagined using a wedding cake for communion at church. Ann Weems writes a short story about a church that uses birthday cake for communion. As I thought about the idea, it seemed like Maundy Thursday would be the perfect service to use a wedding cake for communion. If I was still the pastor at Wedgewood, we would totally be doing that this Thursday. (The poor folks at Wedgewood had to put up with lots of ecclesiastical experimenting on my part.)
So here is the idea. Jesus Christ came to earth as the embodiment of God. His life was beautiful and perfect – a work of art. But Godly perfection is not recognized or accepted by our world. The sin in us works to destroy God’s perfection. On Maundy Thursday the disciples gathered to share a last meal with Jesus. They did not know this would be their last meal together. They did not know that sin was about to destroy the life of Jesus. The Passover meal must have seemed the highlight of their time together so far. It was a wedding cake of a meal. But the events of that night and the following day would smash the wedding cake.
So imagine yourself at Maundy Thursday service. The pastor brings out a wedding cake and sets it on the altar. She reads the story of the Last Supper. When she gets to the verses where Jesus says, “One of you will betray me” she smashes the wedding cake. Perhaps she says a few words about the ways we all betray Christ. Maybe there is a moment of silence as the congregation reflects on the destroyed cake.
But then she says the words we all say at communion, “This is my body, broken for you.” Even though the cake is smashed, destroyed, broken in pieces, it can still represent the beauty and perfection of Jesus Christ’s love. How would you feel as you watched her smash the cake? How would you feel if you were offered a piece of that wedding cake as Christ’s broken body?
During Holy Week it is important for us to remember how Jesus Christ lived and how he died. It is important for us to remember the part that our sin plays in destroying our life in Christ. And, most importantly, we need to remember that even in brokenness – even when we think something is destroyed – Jesus Christ can make it whole.