What is the prophetic meaning of Christ’s Last Supper 2,000 years ago, and how does the Last Supper connect with our aspirations for inner peace, community, and a more just world?...especially when betrayal by friends and the shadow side of life are never far from the surface on this evening? Join us for our Monthly Common Meal as we gather for a meal and then explore the Last Supper through Leonard Da Vinci’s masterpiece (see painting above), original spoken word poetry, singing, candles, and 8 meditative readings of scripture. Since the original Last Supper commemorates both the first Communion & Christ's betrayal among friends there will be a "Last-Supper-And-The-Darkness" theme to our gathering.
Since we are approaching Holy Week (this week includes Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday) we want to make this gathering special. Our meal will include some of the symbolic foods of the traditional Passover celebration (lamb, bitter herbs, roasted egg, etc.—see the picture to the right) which was the original backdrop for the first Last Supper. These foods hold symbolic connections with the Exodus from slavery for the Jewish people and highlight the justice implications of this holy day. Our art for the evening will include perspectives on Da Vinci’ Last Supper explored by Ross King’s new book (click here) and contemporary artist Peter Greenaway (see below photos of his recent exhibit). Finally, our readings and songs will follow the regular Tenebrae service (“shadows” service) that many churches celebrate in one form or another during Holy Week. This includes the readings of 8 key scriptures narrating Christ’s betrayal and the institution of the Last Supper. As each passage is read, a candle is extinguished. Although we are still ironing out the details, we believe this meal and gathering will help us encounter Christ’s last days with fresh eyes and a greater depth of understanding.
If you would like to contribute something—a reading, a painting, a poem, etc.—to the discussion, or a food item for the meal, put that in your RSVP comment section.
(For dinner, parking, building and food details check out the information below.)
Join us as we explore the central ritual & sacrament of the Christian faith—the Last Supper—through a meal, candles, meditation, liturgy, music, and discussion!
---Glenn, Jen, Janet, Lisa, Larry and the whole gang
More information on Tenebrae: a Liturgy of Shadows
The Service of Tenebrae (Latin for “darkness” or “shadows”) has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Once a service for the monastic community, Tenebrae later became an important part of the worship for regular Christians during Holy Week commemorations. We join Christians of many generations and throughout the world in using the liturgy of Tenebrae. Tenebrae is a prolonged meditation on Christ’s suffering. Readings trace the story of Christ’s passion, music portrays his pathos, and the power of silence and darkness suggests the drama of this momentous day. As lights are extinguished, we ponder the depth of Christ’s suffering and death.
More about our Monthly Gatherings: Since May of 2013, our monthly Common Meal and Eucharist Gatherings have been part of our attempt to put emerging ideas into practice as a Christian community, not just talk about interesting ideas at an abstract level with no practical component or real-life significance (as many have complained about). Our contemplative prayer gatherings and justice groups are other initiatives that grow out of our desire to put our ideals into practice. Stay-tuned as we keep discussing some new justice and service initiatives, a study of Shane Claiborne’s materials on intentional communities, and a community blog about our reflections!
Schedule for the Evening: For those who want to participate in the common meal, we'll start that at 7PM. For those who just want to come to the gathering, we'll start the singing at 7:30PM. If you are late, you can still pick up some dinner near the entrance door of the room and join us in the discussion. We are very casual about that sort of thing. People are free to leave early too, just sit near the back door and slip out when you need to. No problem.
Participation: People are always free to just come and enjoy the spontaneous conversation and singing, but it you want to contribute something we want you to know that you are free to share anything on the theme. If you have any suggestions about poems, prayers from the Book of Common Prayer and other prayer books, scriptures, paintings, stories, songs, etc. let me know.
Music: As usual, our house musicians will help us pick out appropriate hymns for our theme of the month and lead us with song.
Food or Donations: We’ll try and offer some items that typically go along with a Passover feast so we can understand better the background of the Last Supper. Wine, water, greens, lamb and bitter herbs are part of Passover. If you can bring something, please put that in your RSVP line by the Thursday before the event (I’ll send out a reminder then too). If you don’t have time to bring or buy something, consider just dropping in a donation of $10 for our paper supplies, custodian fee, and wine.
New ways we want to help those in need: We are going to discuss ways in the next couple of common meals how we might bring dishes (chili perhaps?) that we can freeze and give to Open Table Ministry for the homeless lunches. We are also thinking of collecting personal items (toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc) & clothing for Open Table. If you are interested in getting involved in that cause in general let our coordinators for our homeless team know when we gather.
Location: We’ll send detailed directions for you a couple of days before the meeting (because Dupont Circle has lots of quirky streets and buildings) and some cell phone numbers if you can’t find an open door. Going forward, we're hoping to have our gathering in the "community/fireplace room" space of the Church of the Pilgrims. Since last March we’ve been partnering with local churches to offer more easily opportunities for our group. If you are having problems finding the location on mapquest: mapquest Bier Baron Tavern [masked]nd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037) which is just across the street on 22nd Street NW.
Directions from Metro: Church of the Pilgrims is about 2 blocks west of the Q Street Exit (that's the north one) of the Dupont Circle Metro Station. Once you hit 22nd street, go south a few steps to the parking lot and enter the back door through the preschool playground. We’ll have some signs up for you.
About Parking: Church of the Pilgrims has a parking lot entrance on 22nd Street twenty feet away from the corner of Q St. and 22nd St (where the big "Church of the Pilgrims" sign sits). The parking lot is surrounded by bushes so it's not always easy the entrance at first (see photo to left). There's about 10 parking spots open usually. Also, you can park on 23rd street if you stay on Q and go past 22nd (it’s a one-way street so mapquest this option).
About the 2 entrance Doors: The first time people come there can be confusion about which door to enter. There are two possibilities. First, there's a back door off the parking lot (see photo to the right). That's the best door to enter. Second, there's a front door that next to the big sanctuary doors and which one can use to get to the church office usually. If both are closed by accident, try the cell phones we’ll send along in our logistics update a couple of days before the event