The Last Supper – 9 Apr 2020

The Last Supper – 9 Apr 2020



9th April 2020, Maundy Thursday: Luke 22:19-20    The Last Supper

As I think of the last supper which Jesus ate with His disciples, I can’t help but remember Leonardo Da Vinci’s picture portrayal of the Last Supper – The iconic long table covered in tapestry with images of the disciples together with Jesus seated along the length of the table. In my younger days, there was a sense of foreboding as I looked at the picture – that it was a meal filled with a dreadful anticipation of betrayal, torture and death. But over time, it is no longer the human failings and brutality that I dwell on, perhaps these are to be expected and are always with us. Instead, what captures my attention and has remained is the quiet dignity and tenderness of Christ in the way he prepares and shares this meal, and how this conveys faith in God, hope for the future and love for His disciples in such a way that the sustenance of the meal carries them through the many dark places to come.

When we hear the account of the Last Supper, oftentimes at a Service of Holy Communion, we also remember that every supper since that one, when Jesus is remembered, He is also present today because He is risen. The past, the present, the future all interplay for us in such a way so as to make Holy Communion a sacrament, that is, an outward and visible sign of an inward spiritual grace.

Jesus created memories at the Last Supper by celebrating faith, hope and love in a time of danger, fear, and uncertainty. All that was needed was provided – safety, good food, wine, candles, conversations, foot-washing all contributed to the event. Jesus was the manna, the true living bread which would sustain them throughout the long day – having just begun at sundown and wouldn’t end until He was laid in the tomb. He was also the Passover Lamb that would be sacrificed to halt the angel of death, His blood releasing humanity from slavery to sin. Yet in the midst of His own turmoil, He was able to convey wisdom and an incredible compassion to His companions. He was present to Himself, present to the Father, present to His disciples.

Maundy Thursday also recalls the day when Jesus gave the new commandment to His disciples to “love one another as I have loved you” at the Last Supper. Jesus’ command to be present with His incarnational love

Today, in church, we are no longer nourished by a full meal sitting round a table when we celebrate Holy Communion. We know that many households find it hard to eat together regularly, and so miss out on opportunities to encourage, share and be nourished physically, mentally and spiritually by those older and younger. Perhaps then, the biggest mission tool we have today is a large table for people to sit around and be nourished body, soul, and spirit.

Adapted Justine Allain Chapman

Q1. Where are the tables you sit round – at home, at work, in church? In particular after this COVID-19 health crisis is over, can you remember to make present Jesus to them, conveying His insight and care so they can have hope in and beyond difficulty?

Q2. Are there tables you know where little is provided by way of food? Might you provide?

Q3. Can you give something of yourself to a situation or act in such a way as to create memories to sustain others?

Write out your responses