I’m so very blessed to be apart of “The Living Last Supper”. The concept is simple – a “live action” recreation of Davinci’s Last Supper painting. What makes this special is that each Apostle comes forward to offer some insight from their own perspective on the Gospel.
The effect is stunning – covering much of the Gospels, and leaving the audience with a sense of the original Holy Thursday, and a powerful sense of betrayal of Christ. That’s something we share in a sense with Judas and Peter.
It’s been too many years that I’d never seen it. My parish has performed it for nearly two decades. This is my second year (James the Lesser), and I highly recommend it if there’s a group performing in your community.
The acting is very engaging. Some of my brother Apostles have to choke back tears both during and after the performance – and you find yourself relating to them… even Judas. Each show I’ve done has been followed by a humbling receiving line with an outpouring of thanks. As one of the actors, I can tell you – we’re incredibly grateful that the mercy of God allows the spirit to flow through us sinners to touch hearts; It’s really not an ego trip. Some of the poses are pretty painful to hold for long periods, but we do it for you, and for Christ.
The fellowship I’ve gained with my brothers has been incredible, as are the stories we hear after a performance. Clearly, it’s a moving experience for the audience. We hear about softening of formerly hardened hearts; we hear of the refreshment, the conversion of heart and renewing of spirit.
And yet, all of this falls short of the reality of the original sacrifice – which began nearly two thousand years ago, at the celebration of the Jewish Passover, transformed as the Eucharist, fulfilled in the crucifixion, and perfected by the Resurrection.
When the last supper is taken in the context of the Jewish Passover, so much of Christ’s final days on Earth becomes so much clearly illuminated. More to come in future posts, or by reading/listening to Scott Hahn’s “The Lamb’s Supper”. Why did Jesus deviate from the standard Jewish Passover? For example, the Passover says “This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt.” Jesus says “This is my Body”. Or why does Jesus ask his Father to take “this cup” away from him? Why does the Passover in the Gospel end abruptly, and what does Jesus mean on the cross “It is finished”.
Modernity has attempted to add it’s own meanings to some of these, and yet often remains puzzled or unsatisfied. There are good answers, and putting on the mind of a first-century Jew does wonders. Stay tuned here for answers… and if you get the chance, go see the Living Last Supper.