The Last Meal, A First
A meal that deserves immediate reflection. A meal so special, so rich with meaning.
This meal was a grand experiment. We are a church family who loves to eat together. Table fellowship is our favorite time spent together from weekly breakfasts to monthly lunches to occasional meals at camp and on retreat. It is what we do best because we love it most.
Then is the meal annually on this night. Up to this point only a symbolic meal as we have gathered yearly on Maundy Thursday in our worship space to remember the last supper Jesus spent with his friends.
This year was different. This year we stepped out and attempted to marry our passion with THE passion: to combine the remembering of Christ's last meal as we gather for a full feast together.
People signed up to come and then to bring lamb, potatoes, apple salad, flat bread, and other foods reminiscent of the Passover meal.
I had in my mind how I hoped it would be and held my breath it would all come together.
People arrived 45 minutes early, as family does, to help set up and handle last minute details. As family members walked through the door they were given a task: help the children light the candles, finish cooking the green beans, make the tea. All who came were a part of making this a meal to remember as a meal rich in remembering.
We sang, listened to the story of who we are, and said our prayers. We knelt to wash one another's feet, from members 3 1/2 years in age to nearly 80.
Then the bread was broken again "Take eat" with a prayer and a hope this would be repeated again and again throughout the ages.
Then the body and blood of Christ consumed with renewed heaviness of heart. The altar was stripped as we lifted our voices with that of Christ in the 22nd Psalm.
Finally we walked with Christ into the garden where more members will hold vigil with him through the hours of the night.
Then I sat and listened to the silences and the noises around me.
These must have been the events of that night but this was the first year it was so real for me:
There were a handful silently walking the labyrinth as they started our vigil. Still others, like me, had found a quiet corner for reflection. Then there were the workers in the kitchen cleaning after the feast and festivities.
And that was it, it had to have been, for the first of these nights nearly 2000 years ago. Some had gone with Jesus; others disappeared in the darkness to reflect, retreat, or hide; then the rest were talking in the kitchen as they cleaned. All were processing the weight of the evening in their own way.
And so too were we processing the weight of this evening for us.
It's a hard weight to carry, the knowledge that tomorrow the world will change as Christ hangs, an executed criminal.