Drinking the Cup: An Easter Meditation for Sunday

To drink the cup is to accept your life for what it is.

I would imagine many of us have sent drinks back in restaurants.  It was the wrong flavor.  The carbonation was off.  It was flat.  The cup was dirty or had a bug in it.  We only drink what we are willing to accept.

We are most likely to drink or not drink a cup offered to us if we are comfortable and with people we greet as friends.  If we stop by a person’s house and they offer us a drink but we don’t want to impose, we politely refuse the offer.

According to Henri Nouwen, drinking the cup of our life “is saying, ‘This is my life,’ but also ‘I want this to be my life.’  Drinking the cup of life is fully appropriating and internalizing our own unique existence, with all its sorrows and joys. . . . It is standing in the world with head erect, solidly rooted in the knowledge of who we are, facing the reality that surrounds us and responding to it from our hearts.” (81, 82)

Refusing to drink the cup of our life is an attempt at living an inauthentic, false life.  Whether it is refusing God’s call in our life or trying to life a false life through sin, we become a lesser version of ourselves.  Therefore, accepting the cup of our unique life with all its sorrows and joys is also a cup of salvation, in that it saves us from becoming less than what God intended us to be.  When we drink our cup we receive freedom, identity, grace and life.

This is precisely what Jesus was wrestling with in the Garden on the night before he died.  Would he accept a life where people scream “Hosanna” and “Crucify him”?  Could he take both the praise and rejection of the people he came to save?  Would he push closer to God through submission even if that meant rejection for a time?

Of course, Jesus did, and that is why he declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30), just before he breathed his last.  Then the Son who condescended to our level was glorified as Savior and Lord today, three days later (Philippians 2:5-11).

This Easter the question before us is whether we will drink the cup placed before us?  Will we live the life we are called to?

Together when we drink the cup as Jesus drank it we are transformed into the one body of the living Christ, always dying and always rising for the salvation of the world. (111)