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THE LAST SUPPER (Easter 1)

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THE LAST SUPPER
lastsupper.jpg
by Leonardo Da Vinci. Click here for larger view.

OVERVIEW



TOPIC/STORY:

The story of how we remember Jesus inhabits us all.



WORKSHOPS:

Kitchen, Arts, Storytelling, Computer lab.



ACTIVITIES:

Make bannock/griddle scones, paint Da Vinci style murals, guest speaker, computer programs.



SOURCE TEXTS:

Mark 14: 12 - 25; Matthew 26: 17 - 30; Luke 22:14 - 20.



KEY VERSE: Luke 22. 19 - 20.

Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood." (NRSV.)



AFTER STORYTIME IN CHURCH, ALL CHILDREN MEET FOR GATHERING TIME, BRIEF REVIEW, THEN GO TO SCHEDULED WORKSHOPS.



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BACKGROUND NOTES (& OTHER NEAT INFO):

WHERE THIS SCENE FITS INTO EASTER STORY.
This scene comes just after Jesus's enters Jerusalem on a donkey to shouts and cheers from a welcoming crowd. And after he subsequently ticks off key leaders by overturning the moneychangers' tables in the public courtyard of the temple. It comes just before the passion in the garden of Gethsemane begins.


PASSOVER IN PRIVATE -- 'MAN WITH WATER JAR.'
The occasion for the Last Supper for Jesus, a Jewish man, and his Jewish followers was the observance of the Passover meal. Now that the chief priest and scribes are out to get him (Mk 14.1), Jesus and his followers had to find a way to celebrate in secret. That's why they were to look for a 'man' carrying a water jar. It was a task usually performed by a woman. That was the signal. (See footnotes at Mark 14, NRSV).

WHAT'S PASSOVER AGAIN?
According to footnotes at Mk 14, "Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread, in March/April, celebrated Israel's deliverance from foreign rule in ancient Egypt."

COMMON MEAL.
Our footnotes here also underscore the deep nature of Judas's forthcoming betrayal by highlighting the verse that says, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me." Footnotes explain: "the common meal was the most intimate form of fellowship."

ORIGIN OF THE LORD'S SUPPER (ALSO KNOWN AS EUCHARIST OR COMMUNION).
Notes here add: "Jesus's words at the Last Supper became the words of institution of the regularly celebrated Lord's Supper."

Footnotes for the corresponding event at Luke 22 add: "Jesus transformed a Jewish devotional meal into a continuing expression of association with himself in death and victory."

NEW DEVELOPMENT IN THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL.
Introductory notes to Mark in the NRSV/NOAB point out that the "Gospel of Mark presents Jesus' preaching and manifestation of the kingdom of God as a decisive new development in the history of Israel, not as the beginning of a new religion."

SYMBOLISM OF BREAD & WINE.
Bread and wine are loaded images throughout the Bible. In Biblical and Classical Myths, Canadian writer and scholar Northrop Frye provides this explanation of their symbolic significance: "And if we look through the Gospels we see very frequently how fond Jesus is of these metaphors of harvest and vintage for the coming of the Last Day, and the extent to which the animal elements of body and blood are identified with the corresponding ones of bread and wine. That comes into the pattern of the Eucharist that Jesus is recorded as establishing at the Last Supper, where he specifically identifies wine with his blood."

ALL CREATION COMES TOGETHER IN THE BODY OF CHRIST.
Elsewhere, Frye provides an absolutely soaring description of how our highest hopes and dreams come together in the rite of communion. Let's close this section of our notes with the 2nd last paragraph [the last para is even more awesome -- definitely worth looking up!] from an essay called "Symbols," which can be found in Northrop Frye on Religion:

"The teaching of Jesus follows the pattern of that of Israel. He insists that the reality behind everything that we do, the dark world of inner words, is a kingdom in its own right, and the only kingdom to which we owe loyalty. Christianity says that we can know God only as a man, not a strong or successful man, but a man who is hated by both Pilate and Caiaphas, both secular and spiritual power, who is continually being humiliated but continually refuses to be silenced, who is continually dying but will not die, who forbids us to believe that anything in the world is a reality beyond symbol, a reality to commit oneself to. We are even told that our knowledge of death is not as certain as we have thought it to be, and that when we reach our own death, we shall be drawn out of the daylight world of appearance into a world where beliefs are the only realities, where there are no longer any symbols, and where real existence is to be inseparably part of a God who is also this rejected man. Such a belief is what is symbolized by the rite of communion, the act of eating and drinking a body which is the uncreated form of God, man and nature. The rite points toward a state of existence in which our ordinary associations with light and darkness go into reverse, when we discover that it is this sunlit world that is really the uncomprehending darkness, and the darkness where we can only listen to the Word is really a blaze of light, a golden city."

INCREDIBLE POETRY.
There's a tremendous tribute to bread from Montreal poet AM Klein. This poem, called 'Bread,' is from his Governor-General's Award winning, 1948 collection, "Rocking Chair and other poems:"

Creation's crust and crumb, breaking of bread,
Seedstaff and wheatwand of all miracles.
By your white fiat, at the feast-times said,
World moves, and is revived the shrouded pulse!

Rising, as daily rises the quickening east,
O kneading of knowledge, leaven of happiness,
History yearns upon your yearning yeast!
No house is home without your wifeliness.

No city stands up from its rock-bound knees
Without your rustic aid. None are elect
Save you be common. All philosophies
Betray them with your yokel dialect.

O black-bread hemisphere, oblong of rye,
Crescent and circle of the seeded bun,
All art is builded on your geometry,
All science explosive from your captured sun.

Bakers most priestly, in your robes of flour,
White Levites at your altar'd ovens, bind,
Bind me forever in your ritual, your
Worship and prayer, me, and all mankind!

ICONIC ART.
There's tons of great art for the Last Supper. Of course, what springs first to mind for most of us is Leonardo's peeling wall mural of the topic from 1497. The Time Life biography on Leonardo features an excellent section solely on this painting that deals with its restorations, its near loss to the bombings of WW2, and other treatments of the topic over the ages. Worth trying to borrow from the local library. For now, click this link to see Da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper: DAVINCI'S LAST SUPPER.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION.
1. Whereabouts does this scene fit into the Easter story? What events take place before this scene? What events come after?

2. What major Jewish holiday does it take place during?

3. What does Passover commemorate?

4. What rite in the Christian tradition is derived from the Last Supper?

5. What did Jesus mean when he broke bread at dinner and said, 'Take, eat, this is my body'? Did he mean it was his real body? What else might it mean.

6. What other Bible stories can you think of where bread is an important image [manna in the desert; Jesus feeds 5000]. Can you think of other Bible verses or parables?

7. What did Jesus mean when he took up the cup and said, 'Drink, this is the blood of my covenant, poured out for the for many for the forgiveness of sins.' What was in the cup? Did he mean it was his real blood. What else might it mean?

8. What other Bible stories or verses can you think of where blood is a key image [lots of OT sacrifice stories]. Where is wine symbolic [wedding at Cana; true vine verses]?

9. What do bread and wine/blood and body come to symbolize thru the last supper?


10. Are all the disciples completely sympatico with Jesus at the last supper. Which disciple is not? How do you think Jesus felt about this. How do you think the other disciples felt about hearing there was a betrayer in their midst. How do you think Judas felt?

****** WORKSHOPS ******



KITCHEN

ACTIVITY: MAKE A TYPE OF FLATBREAD CALLED GRIDDLE SCONES. WILL GIVE HANDS ON REINFORCEMENT ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BREAD. KIDS CAN ALSO SERVE EACH OTHER THE BREAD AND GRAPE JUICE AFTER BREAD IS FRIED, IN MINI-REENACTMENT OF LAST SUPPER. REINFORCES IDEA OF SERVICE. GIVE SENSE OF PARTICIPATING IN COMMUNION.

INGREDIENTS: 3 c. flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 1/4 tsp salt; 1/2 c butter; 1/3 - 1/2 c of milk. Rolling pin. Griddle or large frying pan. Non-stick spray if you wish.

DIRECTIONS:
This recipe comes from a plastic, coil-bound book called 'Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens.' It's fast and pretty much fool proof.


Just mix together dry ingred, then butter and milk. Dough should be stiff, not runny or gooey. Roll out on floured surface. (You could probably get away with just pressing flat.) Cut in rounds if you wish. Or just cut slab into rectangles and triangles. Bake in hot pan, turning over til both sides are lightly browned (few minutes, 6 - 8?!?). Tastes like a tea biscuit, excellent warm with just butter or jam!

NB -- this recipe has worked well as a pizza crust (for our Peter & Cornelius 'friends around the world' pizzas. Also with an added tbsp of sugar as the biscuit for strawberry shortcakes for our Lydia unit!)

REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN
Ready. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity.

Set. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

Go. GRIDDLE ON!



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ARTS

ACTIVITY: MAKE OWN LEONARDO STYLE MURAL OF LAST SUPPER.


MATERIALS:

- one large sheet of mural paper for group painting.

- or roll of old fax paper cut into long strips for kids to make own smaller murals.

- paints. Acrylic probably best . Da Vinci's orig mural was done in tempera to give brighter colours.

- brushes

- newsprint or plastic tablecloth as drop cloth.

- soap and water to wash up.



INSTRUCTIONS:

Try to get the Time-Life art book with the section on Da Vinci's Last Supper. It has lots of great pictures (terrific for stimulating kids' imaginations! As well as great info on the medium he chose, about how the mural's position in the refectory where painted produced mirror image effect, sketches for expressions on various disciples' faces, particular attention to Leonardo's genius in how he rendered Judas. Also has samplings of other treatments of last supper.

REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN
Ready. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity.

Set. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

Go. GET MESSY!

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STORYTELLER/GUEST SPEAKER


ACTIVITY: BRING IN GUEST TO DESCRIBE FOR KIDS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO TAKE PART IN PASSOVER MEAL, AND IF POSSIBLE TO COMPARE THAT WITH PARTICIPATION IN CHRISTIAN COMMUNION.

EXPLANATION:
My thinking behind this idea was that I personally would be unable to describe for the kids with any accuracy, confidence or authority what a current Passover meal is like. And I think it's important here for the kids to get a trustworthy sense of what's distinct or similar or completely different about the two very vital traditions.

We happen to have family friends, let's call them the W's. The W's mother is a Messianic Jew who has been very open in group/learning situations with kids about sharing her background and culture. She and her children still take part in Passover seder with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Yet the family is very immersed in the Christian tradition.

Mrs. W would be an excellent resource, if she would be willing to come and speak to the kids about her impressions of the two traditions. If she's unavailable, either of her two teenage daughters would also be excellent resources and guests.

***I'm sure it would be equally interesting and informational for kids from the Western Reform tradition to hear from a Jewish guest what seder is really like, and how it may or may not have been similar to what went on during the last supper.

REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN
Ready. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity.

Set. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

Go. GET INFORMED!

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COMPUTER

ACTIVITY: LAST SUPPER SECTION ON LIFE OF CHRIST COMPUTER PROGRAM.

MATERIALS: 'Life of Christ' activity CD, Lesson 31. Here's the short summary from the lesson index:

"Lesson 31 -- New Meaning to the Passover Meal (Luke 22:14-23) An excellent presentation on the history and practice of the Passover meal and how Jesus redefined it."

REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN
Ready. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity.

Set. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

Go. BOOT UP!

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LOTS MORE LAST SUPPER ART

All original text 2004 - 2014, LD McKenzie

For a brief site ed's bio, click here:

BIO

Components of these lesson sets may be used for non-profit educational purposes, citing this author and site.

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