A Kind of Last Supper

“It took me a lot of time and hard work,” he said pausing, head rhythmically nodding. “But I did. I put to death my ego and my shadows.” He was speaking something about me, something he knew I needed. This over the clink of forks, over the top of salt rimmed glasses and fried plantains.

For some it’s a gift. Greg creates this unexpected intimacy from whole-cloth, from table-cloth. I found it in his story, not the long life one that bleeds for hours. Not the one I do not yet know. Just the three-minute scratch. The good word that speaks of himself, recognizes himself in you, recognizes you in himself.

“One day life, this skin, is going to do to me what it was designed to do. It is going to be scourged, sanctified” he said. “And when it does
I’m going to need people. You can call it community, tribe, who cares. But I know that life doesn’t ask you before taking back what it gave you. It doesn’t ask before giving you something new. Life does what is willed and if I’m going to make it, I need people. I need God in you.”

It was all ordained, predestined, whatever, this night we all shared. In the middle of this God-centered room we orbited, some of us slowly and steadily like he. Others a bit wobbly, almost off-kilter, maybe like I was. We were fixed upon alternating awkward axes of radiant joy, reverent silence, and eternal gratitude. But in all, we were part of a grand experiment to live life well together.

We sat around the table on the Mesa and ate the last supper. A couple of the girls moved to the side for a bit and shared recent wounds, the living Word bandaging the raw areas. By the end of the night our wives were healing, laughing, unworried. You could see them considering the lilies of the field, how they sleep in the fall, but return in the spring.

Arkansas lilies are magnificent in the spring.

When supper was over, or when the waitress kicked us out, anyway, we left with implicit promises–to bear God’s image one to another, to bear one another up, to bear crosses and joys, and to be filled with the hope of Christ.

Peace be with you all.

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12 Responses to A Kind of Last Supper

  1. abby says:

    “It doesn’t ask before giving you something new. Life does what is willed and if I’m going to make it, I need people. I need God in you.”

    what a great picture of what we were talking about wanting to find.
    community is such a buzzword that sometimes i avoid saying it – saying that i need it. i remember in college, we all had that friend that talked about “living in community” and it was a joke that it was all she could talk about it. now i’m thinking it’s not such a bad thing to pre-occupy oneself with.

    we moved in august, to this new place, 13 hours from our closest friends. my husband is in grad school and found instant community there – but it’s not the same. they don’t dig deep, they talk passionately of academics and ideas, but never lower their gaze to the heart, or rarely. i keep ties via sprawling e-mails to those who “see God in me” and i in them. but i miss that sitting around a table. i need that.

    i wonder if there are times in this life that we are meant to feel the need of community more than the reality of it. to know it in our bones that we really can’t do it alone. that we need the God in others. i feel like that sometimes . . .

    • sethhaines says:

      I have a friend who could echo your sentiments, Abby. I think there are certainly times where we are meant to feel the need of community more than the reality of it, as you say. I think we walk, sometimes, in the valley of shadows for a reason. It creates a different kind of appreciation when you find what you are looking for.

      Thanks for sharing.

  2. I read this now and realize my other rambling comment today (on the difficult gospel) could’ve been here too…

    Being with God community makes this life bearable. That’s how we stand it. But it’s got to be there to catch the people that find Jesus and then wander around family-less and ultimately Jesus-less (again).

  3. abby says:

    A- Those words just slapped me around a bit. Sometimes easier to just stay in the good valley of knowing the need and not seek the great of God-community. But you’re right. The wandering can’t be purposeless or it can lead to true wilderness.

  4. Matt Brock says:

    not a lot to say, but i’m that person who echoes sentiment.

  5. greg says:

    “God is at home. It is we who have gone out for a walk”
    Seth thanks for walking backward..

  6. Scott says:

    I’m a bit late to the party but I love your thoughts here brotha…

    “Others a bit wobbly, almost off-kilter, maybe like I was. We were fixed upon alternating awkward axes of radiant joy, reverent silence, and eternal gratitude. But in all, we were part of a grand experiment to live life well together.”

    Certainly I felt wobbly…almost a constant leaning if you will. It reminded me that I’m not sure if I’m actually meant to stand straight or sit taller…the wobbly leaning reminds me to give thanks, be joyful, be quiet and desire life lived as it was or almost seemed it could be…echoes of eden. Thanks friend.

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