At noontime today at Westport I was blessed to hear a sermon by Aaron Scott, our own Chaplains on the Harbor staff person, and who received the Preaching Award at our Diocesan Convention last fall, Now I know why—he really preached it as far as what the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ means to all of us now. And how we live out our own baptism daily in the world. I will get the sermon and let you all read it for yourselves. (It certainly has a slant toward the people of Aberdeen and Westport we serve, and what we do to help each other.)
Now, my short effort at this. First, on the lighter side, you may have heard a few jokes concerning the Last Supper, and here are three I thought were interesting:
- So Jesus is going over the bill for the Last Supper when the apostles notice he has closed his eyes, and is rubbing the bridge of his nose. Exasperated, he asks: "Why... WHY would anyone order wine?"
- Jesus is preparing for the Last Supper...Jesus: Judas, I need you to go to each and every one of my disciples and tell them to meet me here for supper. Also, stop by the market and get some fish, vegetables, and a dessert. When you've come back and are done cooking, set up the table and our best plates”.
Later that evening, while everyone is enjoying their food, Jesus begins in a somber tone, "One of you will betray me -
Judas: "Why do I have to do everything around here?!"
- What did Jesus say right before the last supper?
“Everybody get on this side of the table if you want to be in the picture.” (Bonnie commented that Jesus ordered a table for 26 and they used only one side of it!)
I have a lasting recollection of this service from my kid days as an acolyte at St. Mark’s in Plainfield, IN. I was about 12 years old and serving at the altar. At the end of the service, when all had been fed and the post communion prayer had been read (at that time only the priest said it!), it was time to strip the altar as a symbol of the end of Christ’s ministry and his impending arrest, trial, torture, and death on a cross. The way we did it there had a lasting impact on me. The altar guild folks stood at the door of the sacristy, and the priest and the acolyte basically ripped down everything from the worship space and hauled it out, sometimes throwing things to the altar guild. It happened very fast and was very violent—I guess that was the effect desired. I thought more than once someone might get injured. And then everyone left the worship space in silence through the narthex to go home, knowing the next day they would come back for the Good Friday service.
Different time/different space now, but yet here we are worshiping tonight with the same message and the same symbolism to take home with us, and come back for Good Friday and Easter Sunday as we fully partake of the whole three days of Christ’s death and resurrection. Let’s find ways to get meaning in your own worship experience during this time, to move our faith forward in his name.