“Your ‘Last Supper’.”
That’s how my pastor put it when I offhandedly mentioned I’d been meeting a lot of people for meals and coffee the past week. My stomach was ready to bust that Wednesday evening from all the love, and I joked about it to him. He just nodded understandingly and coined those words: “Last Supper.”
I like that.
I think about Jesus at the table with his disciples, some unaware of his soon departure and some with a hint of unease at the words He’d spoken of in the past. What was going through the disciples’ mind? We know a little through the accounts of Scripture, but can never fully know another man’s mind. What was going through the Savior’s mind?
It’s odd that the idea of feeling like Christ didn’t make me feel big, but actually made me feel very small and loved. In a way, He eventually left that table only to meet the cross, then later resurrect so He could capture my heart in the most sacrificial way. Not only mine, of course, but comparing my communing with friends a week before a move to Christ’s dinner of bread and wine made these things, and the cross, much more intimate.
The dinner table—or fast food booth, or coffeeshop, or park bench—becomes a place of humility and grace for the Church when we have the bigger picture in mind. Upcoming departures, I think, help me see that bigger picture (bittersweet as they can be).
Christ pursued His bride by taking her (the disciples, and through body and blood, us) to dinner, and, I think, if we’re to be Christ-like, we ought to take time together similarly—especially before a departure. We ought to welcome Him into conversations and actions over sandwiches and tea, board games and music, notebooks and pens.
And not only am I convicted to pursue the Church’s well-being by listening, talking, laughing, and crying (all as honestly as possible) over food and drink with my brothers and sisters—I’m convicted to be a part of the Church; I’m supposed to receive the love offered when someone treats me at lunch in a restaurant or makes time in their schedule for a meeting…especially if we’re probably not gonna see one another again for a long while.
We seek out the welfare of His bride and at the same time, we receive admonishment and care from Him, through one another, as being His bride.
My move next week is where God is calling me to seek the welfare of His bride and to be His bride as well. Because His bride is not only in my present neck of the woods, but the different woods—or, in my case, open fields—to come.
There’s coffee to be had, tears to cry, jokes and stories to be shared, and hard things to do. That is risky when you are preparing to say goodbyes and it feels like it’s silly to invest much, or you’re saying hellos and they’re daunting ones full of vulnerability and unknowns. But it carries eternal, careful-Creator-detailed weight, whether you’re interacting with another Christian or someone who isn’t one.
The Church community, both on a local scale and a global scale, is so much intertwined with humility in how we release fear or indifference over our Christian relationships. We become sacrificial, grace-seeking, and grace-receiving through the Spirit’s working.
We take pride in being good friends, listeners, lovers, counselors…and then we forget how much we are in need as much as the people God calls us to reach out to or give ear to. We tend to shoulder the world not as Christ-like beings, but we think we are Christ Himself.
We are terrified or don’t believe our actions and words carry any meaning or worth to the people they meet. The words and actions we receive from our fellow broken humans either make us believe our whole being lies in their outcome or that they are completely fruitless and meaningless…and then we minimize the God of words, order, and peace and His ability and desire to use us as evidence of His good, redemptive handiwork.
The way we commune matters. The way we eat, converse, hug, sing, talk, weep, and live with one another matters, and at the same time it does not define who we are. These things are the signs of change God is creating in His bride. We both need to encourage that change for good in one another and allow others to encourage us in it. Every day seek grace and pray for the work of God alone in this. Intentionally search for God’s glory amid the connections you make. Intentionally rest in and under God’s power over your actions and words. Entrust and commit all these dinners and times to the bigger picture.
It may be your “Last Supper” before He brings justice and He comes back. We may be extremely broken, feeling incapable of receiving or giving the love God calls us to. We’ve been hurt by one another and we hurt one another. But know this: Church was never meant to be all about you. Church is a place of humility. God is kind enough to give us each other and to allow us to be redeemed tools for making His kingdom and Beloved beautiful; for making us ready to break bread and sip wine with Him one day, at a Wedding Feast.
- Philippians 2 (The women in my current church are studying Philippians for an upcoming women’s Bible study workshop. Even though I can’t make the event, it’s been a joy to study the book on my own. Come study themes of humility, encouragement, and community in this book and more specifically, this chapter with us.)
- “Bread and Wine” by Josh Garrels (Probably one of my favorite of his songs. It holds many different memories for me. I love the intimate sound and good, hard, unconditional love that pours out of the words.)
- Ephesians 4:1-16
- The lyrics to Listener’s song/poem “Wooden Heart” (Only through the cross can we find healing, but His touch is displayed and witness through how we treat each other often. I love this spoken word.):
Your hand in mine, my fingers and your veins connected
Our bones grown together in time
Our hands entwined, and my fingers and your veins connected
Our spines grown stronger inside
‘Cause I know that our church is all made out of shipwrecks
From every hull these rocks have claimed
But we pick ourselves up
And try and grow better through this change
So come on and let’s wash each other
With tears of joy and tears of grief
- Romans 12 (Been chewing on this passage a lot, especially in the places where actively seeking to love His Church is harder.)
- Grab coffee with someone on your mind lately. Treat them. Ask them how you can specifically pray for them, and pray with them rather than just later, if possible.
I paused before posting this, savoring some of my “Last Suppers” this weekend. I’m incredibly grateful for the love and fruit of the Spirit’s work in the lives of my friends that He revealed to me. Saying goodbyes is never easy, but I’m comforted within it.
Special thanks to Pastor Schemm, Kara, all the lovely girls at church for their encouragement and affirmations tonight. My heart is full.
Break bread, frens,