Okay, so it wasn’t quite the reenactment of the last super, but something about dinner last night just has me thinking about it. Throughout the year my friends and I get together to celebrate birthdays. We’ve done for it for years and now it is made even more special as we are often joined by some of our now adult daughters. This night we were a table for 11 and as I surveyed the scene before me began to wonder about the final meal Jesus shared with His disciples.
As we piled into cars like school kids in route to a field trip, I wondered which of His disciples kept track of where everyone was and made sure they all reached their destination. In our small group there are always some who are early, some who are just in time, and some who are late. I wonder which of the disciples stood waiting for the others and which scurried to meet up with the group after a busy day at work?
Each dinner someone takes on the responsibility to organize us. She will coordinate our schedules, make reservations, and in general herd us like cats until we finally have a date, time and place to meet. As I looked down the table at my dear friend who had gathered us together this night and had not only made arrangements for us, but also provided snacks for our drive into the city, I wondered which of the disciples took care of such details for Jesus. He instructed His disciples where to go to begin preparations for their Passover meal, but which of them took the lead in making preparations. Surely, one of the disciples had a gift of organization and planning, there is at least one in every group of friends.
There we were, 11 ladies sitting around the dinner table,excited to have this time together. Within minutes of settling into our seats and receiving our glasses of water, one was knocked over. This is a common occurrence at our dinners for some reason, I was glad it was not me this time. I overheard the daughters mentioning how eating out with us moms is maybe good preparation for dealing with kids at mealtime. I wondered what mishaps the disciples encountered that fateful night at their table. As we scrambled to stop the flow of ice water with napkins too fancy to effectively absorb anything, I can’t help but picture Peter knocking over his cup as he gestured wildly while recounting the story of the time he walked on water with Jesus. Maybe Matthew flew into action to sop up the spilt beverage with the edge of his robe, perhaps the others scrambled to their feet to avoid getting wet. I know there is no Biblical account of such an event, but for those of us who frequently eat in small groups with friends it seems likely there was at least one mishap.
We were so excited to be together in one place and time that the conversations quickly began to flow. Sitting around a long table makes it necessary for numerous conversations to be going on simultaneously which can best be described as conversation chaos. One end of the table was intently gathering their heads together to better hear one another as they discussed Bible studies, family, and anything else that was affecting their days. The other end of the table, comprised mainly of the young adult daughters, told stories of recent trips, reminisced about growing up as youth together, and the changes and challenges they each faced as young married ladies. Those seated in the middle section of the table would alternately lean to either end of the table to hear what was being shared, as well as carrying on their own conversation with those across from them. I wonder if the disciples had similar conversation dynamics. Did those at one end of the table wonder what the others at the far end of table were laughing about? Did those in the center strain to hear what was being shared at each end of the table?
Though I am normally busy talking the ear off my friends, this night I stopped often and simply looked around the table. I love these ladies. We are all so different and yet we each meet one another’s needs in our relationships. These are the women who have laughed often and loud with me, cried with me, hurt with me, encouraged me and listened to me. We have shared a lot of life. We have seen our children through their teen years together, endured loss of loved ones, career transitions, serving in church together and growing up in general. Though their time together was short no doubt the disciples lived a lot of life together. They traveled great distances, learned, and served together. I imagine there were many nights they sat together around a fire or at a table and shared their personal stories with each other. I wonder if at some point during that last supper, if some of the men did not also take in their surroundings and consider their love for those around that table.
I wondered last night how hard it would be if one of us had stood and spoke of “going away”. My heart would break even if I could understand the need for the departure. I would hang onto every word of promise of their return, I would immediately begin to plan how we could stay in touch…there would be a lot of tears.
Though I cannot completely imagine the emotions of the disciples in that final supper, I am reminded of the weight of their impending loss. Sometimes in my hurry to celebrate the resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I forget to contemplate the emotional and physical pain that had to take place for my redemption. Today my heart aches at the thought of such loss, it is a time to mourn…but PRAISE BE TO GOD, we can face this sorrow knowing the time to celebrate is soon!