The Last Meal: A Meditation for Maundy Thursday

Tell us the story, Lord. Tell it again.


(Scripture can be found here....)


Tell us about that night,

tell us about the Passover you shared with your friends, your followers.


(That is what some tell us, that you ate the Passover that night.

Others tell us, no. It wasn’t the Passover. The Passover was still to come, because you were the Passover, the next day, the perfect Lamb for the sacrifice.)


This is a hard story, Lord.

It’s a confusing story, with many versions, many tellers.

You tell us. Tell us again.


We have heard that prisoners on death row can sometimes choose the last meal before their execution.


Some choose a meal like mom would make. Fried chicken, peas with butter, apple pie and Dr. Pepper. Some choose bowls full of ice cream, mint chocolate chip. Some choose nothing. One prisoner, one time, asked for a single olive with the pit still in it, in hopes that it would grow into an olive tree from inside his body, and become a symbol of peace.[1] None of them can eat the meal with their mom, though, and a cell is a far cry from an ice cream stand on a warm spring evening. And you did not grow into a tree, though you were hanged on one.


But not yet.


First, the meal.

What was your last meal? Was it something your mother helped to make, along with the other women who were your friends and followers? Was it a meal of bitter roots and herbs? Celery dipped in water, salted like the sea? Succulent lamb with mint? Sweet apples and honey? Bread still warm from the fire, and wine that warmed the heart and stomach?


What was your last meal?


We know the story. You reclined after dinner, 

You took the bread, and you spoke a poem,

You took the cup, and lyrics spilled from your mouth.


The bread, my body, the wine in my veins.

My body for you, my blood is my promise.


And all around the table they ate, confused, but nourished. Perplexed, but warmed.

Troubled, but gathered, one, like the grains in the bread, like the drops in the cup.

Strengthened for a journey no one could imagine. Nourished for all that lay ahead.


And now, the hour was here. Your hour.


Tell us, Lord. Tell us about it.


How you loved them. How you loved them until the end.

How you loved us, even before we were here.

How your love somehow spans everything in existence, and transcends trivialities like continents and oceans and millennia.


The towel around your waist.

The basin of water in your hands.

Your knees to the ground, your hands reaching out in loving touch.


Oh Lord, tell us. Tell us why you washed their feet. Tell us why you made yourself a servant.


Was it to offer us an example?

Was it to interrupt our pride?

Was it to remind us to serve?


Or was it, simply, purely, who you are?

So like a mother, giving your body and blood to give us life.

So like a father, tenderly washing his beloved children.


So like no one we have ever known, whole in your love for us, complete.


Tell us. Tell us, Lord. Tell us again.


Sing us your love song, the one you sang, even to the end.


Love one another, as I have loved you.


Love one another, as I have loved.


Love one another, as I have.


Love one another, as I.


Love one another.


Love one.





Thanks be to God. Amen.


[1] Alan White, “12 Pictures of Death Row Prisoners’ Last Meals,” images re-created by photographer Henry Hargreaves for his series “No Seconds,” BuzzFeed, February 18, 2014.