Archives: John 13:1-35

Thursday: Final Table

So, I hate to cook, and I’m terrible at it.

Well, “hate” is perhaps too strong a word.

But I missed a lot of days in the “Stuff Women Are Supposed To Know How To Do” classes, otherwise known as “American Gender Socialization,” and I’m just really bad a lot of that stuff.

I cook poorly, I can’t wrap a gift properly, I seem to lack maternal instincts entirely, and I don’t decorate to the point that friends have said my apartment looks like a padded cell.

As you might imagine from someone who does not enjoy cooking nor has ever bothered to really learn, I have never seen a cooking show in its entirety.

I know there are entire television networks devoted to food and cooking, hosted by celebrity chefs.

And I admire greatly people who cook as a hobby, hunting down obscure recipes and turning out glorious creations that are as much art as sustenance. But I will never be among them.

I count myself lucky to occasionally enjoy the fruits of their labors, and offer to wash the dishes in thanks.

Due to my lack of familiarity with culinary culture, I was surprised to hear of a specific tradition in the restaurant business among chefs, and the book someone wrote about it.

It turns out that once chefs reach a certain point of proficiency, they like to engage in a little thought experiment with each other.

You’ve heard of the question: “If you were abandoned on a desert island, what one book or album would you want with you?”

Well, chefs and cooks ask each other and themselves: “If it were your last night on earth, what and how would you prepare for your final meal?” Continue reading

Thursday Dinner, Eating With Sinners: The Second Coming

What we do on Maundy Thursday is attempt to reenact and experience everything Jesus taught us to do while we wait for him to come again.

We might even say that we do what he asked us to do to help him or invite him or make him come again.

I have a hunch that the Second Coming is not the apocalypse of fireworks and epic battles across the skies that we’ve been led to imagine by end times pop theology.

What if the Second Coming of Christ is actually us?

What if the Second Coming of Christ is we, the Body of Christ, growing more and more conformed to the Mind of Christ until we are able to fully manifest his will in the world? Continue reading

Thursday: Naked and Unashamed

Here’s the really strange thing about Maundy Thursday: in our scriptures appointed for today we don’t even read about one of the most important events that happened that night.

The name for Maundy Thursday comes from the Latin mandatum, meaning commandment, and refers to what Jesus says in the text we do read from the Gospel of John.

Right after the footwashing, Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

The footwashing comes in conjunction with the institution of the Last Supper. These are hugely important parts of what happened on Thursday night, but they’re not the whole story.

What we’re missing from our readings is the Garden of Gethsemane. Continue reading

Thursday: His Strength Runs Out

They had eaten thousands of meals with friends in their lifetimes.

They had eaten hundreds of meals with Jesus since they began following him.

They had eaten anywhere from twenty to fifty Passover meals in their lifetimes.

And this was their third Passover meal with Jesus.

It should have seemed familiar, comfortable, relaxed.

Just a few days ago, the disciples had seen Jerusalem welcome Jesus with open arms, hailing him as the Son of David and their King.

The disciples, by association with Jesus, were coming up in the world. The world was their oyster.

Or it should have been.

But tonight, something was indefinably different.

There was a palpable sense of discomfort, of unease.

All week, Jesus had had an air about him.

He was no longer the Teacher who thoughtfully explored scripture with them, or the Healer who touched all who came to him with gentle hands and an open smile.

There was an air of determination in him that edged on desperation.

He had the look of a man who had set his face like flint, as Isaiah says, committed to do something no matter the cost. Continue reading