This was originally the conclusion of a sermon on riches and inheritance. It should be read standing by the communion table and if the bread and wine are covered up, then they could be uncovered at the appropriate point during the reading of the will.
The Last Will and Testament of Jesus of Nazareth
Acting on the instructions of our Lord Jesus, I will now read his last will and testament. It was his wish that as his friends and adopted family gathered around the meal table, they should learn his will for them.
“I, Jesus of Nazareth, send greetings to all my friends assembled here today. Not just friends, but my brothers and my sisters, welcomed into the family of God by our loving heavenly Father.
“As you have all heard by now, I have died. Indeed, it is because of my death that you are gathered together. But not, I hope, to mourn for me. My death was a great victory – for me and for you. So rejoice with me that death has been conquered. I am alive now in a wonderful way that you cannot yet fully understand.
“But you are not here just to celebrate. You are here to learn of my legacy to you. And you will be glad to know that each person here today is included in my will.
“It is my wish – my will if you prefer – that each man, woman and child in this assembly shall receive
1) My peace. You know how I retained a sense of well-being and a trust in God even through the turmoil of life. That same peace I now give to you.
2) My joy. I came to give you life in abundance. I give you the deep joy that comes from knowing you are alive and are loved.
3) My love. When your own love is too weak, use mine instead.
4) My Spirit – as your guide, your comfort and your strength.
5) All the riches of God. You are my fellow-heirs in the kingdom of God, and I want you to receive all the blessings he is eager to give you.
“Your inheritance is so great that I don’t expect you to grasp its immense value all at once. Some of the things I give you can only be properly appreciated as you begin to receive them into your hearts and lives. But there are two gifts I bequeath to you which you can receive here and now. To every person present today I give you this bread and this wine.
“Here are symbols of my broken body and my spilt blood. These gifts are nourishment for the soul. In accepting them you are receiving tokens of the full inheritance which awaits you.
“My testament – my witness – to you is that God our Father loves you and welcomes you into his family. My will – my earnest desire – for you is that you receive this bread and this wine as a foretaste of the great banquet prepared for you.
“Eat the bread. Drink the wine. And remember – I am with you always.”