I went searching around for an image of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and I found this. I don’t know why I expected any different…
Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? Of course, not. Dinner over video chat isn’t the same as sitting down elbow to elbow, passing platters, and clinking glasses over the table. We get to know people by sitting down to a meal together. We get a feel for business partners over lunch, we grab coffee with new friends, we savor a fine dinner with a special someone. We gather with friends to tell stories over dessert. Community happens at tables!
I’ve joked that the surest sign of the pandemic being over in our church will be the first potluck. That’s only half a joke. There’s something about a meal with others that has its own sort of holiness about it. It’s the reason we eat with someone to get to know them better. In the space below (or on a separate sheet, if you’re sharing), write down a few people YOU want to share the holiness of the table with when it’s safe.
Activity – Meal Plans for the Future
Someone I want to know better…
And ONE MORE… (Watch the worship service on March 14 to find out who exactly)
The scene of the Last Supper, no matter which Gospel writer you check, is a complicated picture of a group of people who have spent a lot of time together. Every little bit matters. Who’s sitting where? Who’s talking? Who’s NOT talking? Every detail matters and it tells us something about their fellowship. Read John 13:21-26 and see for yourself.
21After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.
Do you see it? They’re lying down around this table, dipping into dishes, passing bread. They’re talking, whispering, trading glances. There’s a lot of life, complicated life, happening around this table scene. And it’s one of the clearest pictures of this group of people that we have in the entire Gospels. At this table, they show who they really are.
Who are they really? Peter liked to act like he was the leader among the disciples, but here we see that he needs someone to clue him into what’s going on. John, the beloved, is one that Jesus trusts so much that he lets him in on this secret. And Jesus? Jesus is the one who allows even his betrayers at his table. And we’re not just talking about Judas!
The most revealing moment of the dinner is when Jesus blesses the bread and the cup, pointing out that these elements are like his body and blood. He makes himself more fully known at the table. Jesus is one who lays down his life for his friends. And we are invited to that table. We are invited to know Jesus through the bread and the cup.
Take a moment to pray quietly: “God make yourself known to me at your table.”
When you’re ready, eat the bread and drink of the cup, meditating on God’s gift to you. Don’t rush afterward. Some of the best conversation happens after supper. Stay a while in the presence of God.