Luke 22:14-23 To read the full passage, click here.
The sun slips below the western horizon of a clear and cloudless sky, casting long shadows across the small, upper room. Images darken. Corners hidden. The still, night air, and the twilight participants are slowly enveloped in the evening gray. As the sun disappears, warm sepia tones replace yellow, blue, red, and green.
The lamps light one at a time. Their wicks burn low, trailing long strings of black smoke into the closing darkness, and out the open windows. The soft glow reflects off hard, chiseled features, illuminating black, tangled beards, deep-set eyes, serious faces. Lamplight flickers. It dances. It is the only movement in the room.
No one makes a sound. No one laughs or jokes. The mood of the assembly prevents levity. The historical significance of the evening weighs heavily on the attenders. Four hundred years of slavery. A people’s bitter struggle. The lamb’s blood. Dripping upon the lentil. The Angel of Death. Passover. Deliverance from bondage. God’s greatness made real. His promise kept. Whispers pass. Heads nod. Eyes meet across the table. The story retold without words, through a ritual of food.
Calloused and worn. Lasting impressions remain on each palm and every finger. Indentations. Reminders of many years holding wood, chisel, and saw. Strength courses through each tendon. Ligaments flex. Joints ache. Thick black hairs extend across strong wrists and cover the back of each hand. They hold the bread and rip. They lift the cup and pour. These hands, used for building, used for healing, slapping a back in laughter, wiping away tears of sorrow, lifting a body once broken.
He looks into the faces of his followers and friends. His stare is of a man who knows more than he will ever say. Deep, dark, soft, and sad. Across the table. Around the room. One at a time. His eyes meet their eyes. A smile creases their corners. A tear dampens them more than once. They close softly as he tears the bread. His friends watch them squeeze shut over the rim of the cup as it touches his lips.
Flour, crumbs, and crust. Matzo. Bread. The symbol of life. Pulled from the basket and broken. Ripped and torn. Passed then dipped. Unleavened and simple. A symbol of purity. A reminder of haste. This night, eaten slowly and with purpose. The men feel its texture in their mouth. It sticks to their teeth and slows the movement of their tongues. They hold it, firm. They taste it again, and again.
An earthenware cup, chipped but still whole. Stained from years of use. Filled with juice of the harvest. Filled and refilled. Used to celebrate and remember. The symbol of joy. A reminder of promise. Tart to the tongue. Sweet in the throat.
One last meal they share together. In the dark of the evening, in light of the lamps.
One last feast. A story of remembrance. A story told in silence.
One last dinner. Served with strong hands under a loving watchful eye.
The last supper. Bread as his body. Wine as his blood. And the Passion begins.
copyright 2005 C. Curtis Austin a 2BlackDogs Production
Tomorrow: Fast Asleep