Prepare: Maundy Thursday

John 13: 31b-35


Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


The Last Supper

The Last Supper by Bouveret (1852-1929)

The Last Supper
by Rainer Maria Rilke

They are assembled, astonished and disturbed
round him, who like a sage resolved his fate,
and now leaves those to whom he most belonged,
leaving and passing by them like a stranger.
The loneliness of old comes over him
which helped mature him for his deepest acts;
now will he once again walk through the olive grove,
and those who love him still will flee before his sight.

To this last supper he has summoned them,
and (like a shot that scatters birds from trees)
their hands draw back from reaching for the loaves
upon his word: they fly across to him;
they flutter, frightened, round the supper table
searching for an escape. But he is present
everywhere like an all-pervading twilight-hour.

[On seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, Milan 1904.]
Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming


4 thoughts on “Prepare: Maundy Thursday

  1. I have loved reading all the reflections this month and appreciate all the effort that went into providing us with such lovely and meaningful pictures and words. Thank you so much!

  2. For some funny reason, this reminded me of a vestry i once served on at a distant city far far away from “the Holy City” …lots of sidebar conversations about the latest building plan, how Mr. or Ms. X was feeling about the Rector, whether they would EVER get that “alternative” service going, budgets, etc. etc…
    Once in a while, someone might dare to utter the name of Jesus. Strange looks for a moment, then… back to “work” on all the “projects.” I imagine Jesus sighing, and getting ready for what lay ahead.
    Perhaps DaVinci’s painting could be retitled: “The Last Vestry.”

    or not! thanks for the wonderful service you’ve provided here, Sarah, and i intend go back and read the rest (since I stand guilty of being one of those overly busy types who talked about things on the side while Jesus was right there in the middle of the table all along).
    Chip Jones

    • Thank you, Chip. I think you’re right on. For me, the disciples always put me in touch with my humanness. I remember that even in the midst of their squabbling about details, Jesus loved them and relied on them to be the Church in the world. We turn…week after week…to the grace offered in our own invitation to a holy meal, and to the relationship with Jesus that is offered to us in that communion. I am appreciative to receive that grace unconditionally, whether my head is filled with vestry budget numbers, or the awe of divine inspiration in the eyes of beloved community. Sometimes when I hear “all are welcome” I realize that it’s not just an invitation to various people, but also a divine and radical welcoming to bring all parts of myself…all of who I am…into that relationship. Jesus stands for us, always putting aside the petty and embracing the holy that sometimes we can’t even see. I ache with gratitude for that divine gift during this most holy week.

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