Maundy Thursday

Almighty Father, whose most dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it in thankful remembrance of Jesus Christ our Savior, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

by Steve Van Scoyoc

It was 1989 and I had my eye on on those black Air Jordan 4s with that fire red stripe on the toe and that funky waffle mesh on the side. The migration from 4th grade to 5th was a big transition: new school, new friends and new swag. Although not much of a basketball player, my prospects were about to change. In 5th grade I grew 5 inches! The kids on my rec soccer team thought I was a giant and begged the coaches to make sure I didn’t step on their toes. I started playing basketball and was placed at center. I didn’t have much court time under my belt, but in 5th grade size mattered so I got some playtime. I loved MJ and as I shot up like a weed, visions of the NBA started dancing in my head. Sure I probably wouldn’t be Jordan, but if I kept growing like this I would settle to be Horace Grant. Fast forward two years – I had played 5th and 6th grade ball. It was time to try out for the middle school basketball team and those 5 inches had been an anomaly. Now stuck at 5’7″ in 7th grade while the rest of the world shot up all around me, my size dominance dwindled. My family was out of town the first day of tryouts but I jumped in on day two. Decisions were released and I didn’t make the cut. I was sure it was because I missed the first day of tryouts, but I think God (and the coaches) really know the reason. Cut from the 7th grade basketball team, I was offered the position to serve as manager. Disappointed but eager to feel like part of the team, I served joyfully, helping with water bottles, being a gopher for the coach and sweeping the court before and after games. I mean really what 7th grade girl wouldn’t chase after a stud with a giant dust mop. Let’s be real, it was a reality shift. All those dreams of wanting to be like Mike faded. The hopes of fame and glory ended and reality set in.

As I read the account of the Last Supper, I imagine a pivot in the hopes and dreams of the disciples. As Jesus’ ministry had built momentum and the crowds gathered to get a glimpse of the possible Messiah, I’m sure the confidence and optimism of the disciples increased their stature five inches as well. In the Upper room as Jesus’ is revealing centuries of mysteries, the disciples focus on which of them is the greatest. Peter professes his undying devotion yet Christ reveals that Peter will deny him three times (Luke 22:34). Reality starts to set in as Jesus reveals that he will not conquer with swords and sit on an earthly throne. The disciples will not be a revered group of leaders in this new world order. Instead they will be mocked, threatened, beaten and killed. Dreams of greatness will be replaced with the reality of service and sacrifice. They will not be rewarded on earth, but in Christ’s kingdom (Luke 22:30). As Christ breaks the bread and drinks from the cup, He tells the disciples that He soon will suffer and die. However, He reminds them He has always provided for them (Luke 22:35) and will continue to provide for them.
As the prophecies of the Messiah are fulfilled, God reveals to us that his promises are true. He is always faithful and even though we may not understand the direction He has taken us, He has a plan, a perfect plan.

In case you’re wondering, I never got the Jordans (thanks for the all white Brooks high tops Mom), and the dust mop didn’t bring me the girl of my dreams. But with a little patience and the guiding hand of God, my high school sweetheart has been by my side for over 20 years and at 5’5″ can take me down in a game of HORSE.

-Steven Van Scoyoc lives in Pinehurst, NC

About Mike Pratt

Husband, father, entrepreneur, follower of Jesus, sometimes church planter . . .
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