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The Last Supper

Rev. Harry Currie

Mar 24, 2024

John 13:31-14:6, John 14:15-20

The Last Supper…


      It’s a strange name, when you think of it. It actually isn’t in the bible, the term “the last supper.”


It is only in retrospect, in looking back that the term “last supper” was used. Only after Jesus’ death and resurrection that the disciples and followers of Jesus returned to that “last supper” and called it “the official last supper.”


      Churches sometimes have last suppers.

      We had one just a few months ago when we said good-bye to our caretaker Norm. It actually wasn’t a supper, it was refreshments and cake after church. And about 100 people gathered In the Newcombe Room and we said good-bye to Norm.

      There were a couple of short speeches and presents and we told funny stories.


      That’s what you do at last suppers.

      You swap stories of times gone by.

                  You say “goodbye.” You say “thanks.” You say “God bless you.”

Actually “Good-bye” is a contraction of “God be with you


We all have last suppers.

      Retirement dinners… Leaving a job dinners... Someone moving to a new part of the country or to another country and you have a fare-well dinner. A send-off…


      I have had a few send-offs. A few last suppers where congregations gave me a clock or something and wished me well, and thanked me. I’m sure a couple of people were thankful for my ministry and some were thankful that I was gone.

      But mostly, my experience had been that there have been lots of tears and hugs and sorrow. And in that moment, for a least a second or two there is that feeling of “let this cup pass from me..

      I don’t want to move or change or say good-bye.”


It is not an easy thing to say good-bye sometimes.


Because, because.


      You never really know when it will be the last, last supper. That last time you ever see someone on the face of the earth again.

      A dear friend from Bekevar Church in Kipling. Margaret Szabo, whom I used to board with when I would preach there while I was Interim Moderator…

      I remember saying good-bye to her.

      She had a weak heart. I wondered if I would see her again. I knew that I probably wouldn’t. And she died a couple of years later.

      That is only one of many, many people I ate a last supper with and never saw again


      You see, sometimes these Last Suppers are truly Last Suppers, and there is someone you will never see again in this lifetime.


      Fiona’s Dad emigrated from Scotland to Canada, I think in 1953. The last words his mother said to him were: “Good-bye son. I’ll never see you again.”

      She wasn’t that old. There was no particular reason to believe that they would never see each other again.

      In fact, a few years later Peter had plans arranged to go back to Scotland and see his mother. But she died suddenly and she never did see her son again.


      Sometimes we never know when it will be the Last Supper with someone.


      And I guess if we are truly honest, we probably will not know when it is our own last supper. At least the Last supper on the earth.

      That is probably good in one way. I am not sure I would want to know when my last supper would be. I don’t want to run into some old prophetess pointing a bony finger at me saying: “Beware the ides of March.”

      “Excuse me, but is that the Ides of March 2025 or the Ides of March 2045.”


      Would you? Would You want to know when your last supper would be?

I don’t think so.


      But if you don’t know when it is, when are you going to make your farewell speech?

       When are you going to take the time to say all the things you should say and do all the things you should do? When are you going to get around to all the most important things in life?

I read a book when I was a teenager. A variation of the whole world is going to be destroyed by a giant meteor which is on its way.

      You only have 300 shopping days left until the earth’s total annihilation. That sort of thing.


      Anyway, in the book, with everyone facing the prospect of death, the whole world changes for the better. The crime rate goes way down. The government spends no money on military and spends it on health care. Scientists, realizing they have little time, still want to do something significant and they come up with a cure for cancer. It becomes a much friendlier, caring world, because everybody realizes that the real value in the world is in love and friendships.

      And then the twist at the end is that the world doesn’t end. The few Scientists made up the part about the meteor hitting earth. They knew it was going to be really close and so they came up with the idea that the world would end so that everyone would turn over a new leaf and get their priorities straight.


      It’s a pretty far out story. That’s why they call it science fiction, with the emphasis on fiction and not science.

      But stop for a second and imagine.

      What if it were true and the end of the world was happening and you knew that it would be your last supper this very night.

Who would you want to be there? Your friends, your children, your spouse, your parents…

      What would you want to tell them?

            Picture their faces and their voices.

      Feel the emotions bubbling up to the surface.


How precious that supper would be.

      I had a friend from Newfoundland tell me one time, that if it were his last supper and he got to choose the menu, like the convict on death row, he would have fish and brews….

      Which I think is salt cod boiled and hard bread boiled and served together usually with salted pork fat.

      Sounds delicious….. Not.


No, myself, I probably would go to the old standard of double bacon cheeseburger with fried onions and homemade fries. If it’s your last supper you don’t have to worry about clogging the arteries.


      But truly, truly if it were the last supper… If tonight were the last supper, I don’t know whether I could eat. I think I would be overcome with emotion. And the sense of preciousness about life…


      And I want you to think about it for a minute because I think

                  Every supper… every supper….every meal… every time we share a bite with another person whether it be a bran muffin or a steak dinner is precious beyond belief.

      Every supper should be treated in some way like a last supper.

      And the focus should be on the glory of sharing something with another human being.

                  And the focus should be on love and sharing


      Because when you eat and share with someone it is a sacred moment, a Holy moment, a divine moment because

when you eat and share with someone, the divine in you communes with the divine in the other.

      It is a kind of communion.


And because

Because we never know

                  When time… when time… will run out


Whether we are eighteen or eighty

      Life is precious because there is precious little of it.

And we should treat everyone, and love everyone, and care for everyone, as if it were his or her last day on earth.

      Because, who knows…


      Jesus knows it is his last supper with the disciples. The last supper before his death…

The last supper before all hell breaks loose.

      Jesus knows and he tells them that he is going away.


“Where are you going?” they ask


            “I am going to my Father. I am going to die.”


            It is Jesus last supper. It is the disciples last supper. And it is our last supper too. We cannot read this story and hear this story without being drawn into this story.


      We are the disciples who eat the last supper with Jesus.

      We are the disciples who say: “Not I Lord. I won’t betray you… and a few hours later our actions betray Jesus.

      We are the followers who say: “Where are you going, Lord?

      What’s going to become of us?

            Are you coming back?

                  Who’s going to look after us.”


This is our last supper.

      And the same doubts the disciples had, we have…

      Is death the end? Will it be over?

            Does your leaving mean you are gone completely?

                  Are we all alone after you are gone?


Where are you, Lord?


      You see. Isn’t that part of the reason why we come to church? Surely people don’t come to church anymore because it is an upwardly mobile thing to do and in order to business in the community you have to go to church and be seen to be a good boy and girl.

      No, surely these days, people who go to church go because they are seeking God. They go because they know Jesus is real in some way and they want to tap into his reality.

      Or maybe they go because they want to find out if he is real or not, if he is alive or not.

            Surely the church is the place to go to find Jesus.


There’s a story of a Christmas Pageant that happened at a church one time. And there were of course people dressed up as Mary and a Joseph and there was a little baby playing Jesus lying in the manger. There were people acting out the wise men and the shepherds, and then they had all the little children as angels. But when everyone arrived on stage it was pretty crowded. One of the little angels ended up getting pushed on to the wing of the stage.

      And she all of sudden yelled out, “I can’t see Jesus.”


That’s what she wanted.

      That’s what we want.


That’s what the disciples wanted. To see Jesus. They didn’t want him to go.


And Jesus says. Don’t worry. Don’t let your hearts be troubled.

                  “Believe in me,” he says, which really means “Trust me.”


      I am going. But here’s the deal


I am going for a purpose. I am going to make preparations

For a new place where we can all be together.


      And you know the place where I am going?


Thomas said. “Lord we don’t know the place or the way to get there.


Jesus said: “I am the way”

      I am the way… I am the way.. I am the way..

He didn’t say: The church was the way

            The Ten Commandments were the way

      He didn’t say the liberals, or the conservatives, or the new democrats or democracy or socialism or education is the way.

      He said, “I am the way.”


Why did Jesus go?

      I think…I think he went not only to die and rise, to show us that nothing can separate us from God’s love,

      But also, he had to go to his new home, which is this:

The hearts and lives of people who love him…


      And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.”


      Jesus himself is that place of love. Jesus himself is the way of love.


For …  wherever love is… Jesus is.

      Wherever grace is… Jesus is.

      Wherever peace is… Jesus is.

      Wherever justice is… Jesus is.

      Wherever forgiveness is… Jesus is.

      Wherever there is someone in need… Jesus is.


For whenever we follow that way of love, grace justice, mercy and forgiveness…Jesus is actually there.


Whenever we love, Jesus is in us and we are in him.

                        “You are in me and I am in you.”


Will we put our trust in that?

      That he is alive and in us.



      There’s a wonderful story written by Karen Blixen under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen, called Babette’s feast.

      She also wrote the story “Out of Africa.”


Babette is a refugee from France escaping the French Revolution and she ends up in a poor fishing village in Denmark staying with two sisters who were carrying on the ministry of their deceased father, a minister.

      Their brand of religion was to renounce all worldly pleasures.


They give Babette room and board in exchange for housework. Babette works hard and is accepted into the community. After 12 years, wonderful news comes. Babette has won the French lottery. Her friends in France continued to buy her tickets. She has won a fantastic sum of money.


      This coincides with the fact that the sisters were planning a hundred-year celebration to honour the birth of their father.

      Babette asks the sister if she can prepare a real French dinner for this anniversary, as an anniversary present, and also her farewell gift to the community.

      She sends away for all this stuff. Fancy French Cooking stuff. Turtles and champagne and quail etc. and does up this fantastic meal for the whole community.

      Her Last Supper.


      She makes she outrageously expensive and sumptuous meal for a group of Christians who have renounced pleasure and extravagance and don’t even appreciate the meal, except one visitor who exclaims the only meal he ever had this good was in the famed Café Anglais in Paris, who had the best chef in the world.

      Babette acknowledges that she was that chef.

      Everyone is amazed.

      The group say good-bye to Babette. We will remember you when you go back to Paris.


And Babette says: I am not going back to Paris. My family was all killed and besides it would be expensive to go back to Paris.

      But what about your lottery winnings?


      I spent it all on this dinner.


      It’s a beautiful parable of grace.

            At her Last Supper, Babette spends everything on people who did not deserve it, to lavish a gift upon them they can hardly appreciate.

      And then she stays with them because she loves them.


      It is a picture of Christ who spends everything on us who do not deserve it. God lavishes the gift of Christ and grace and forgiveness on us who at times hardly appreciate it.

The storyteller of Babette’s Feast wants to open our eyes and see that God’s grace is infinite. God spends everything on people who do not deserve it, to feed them his love and grace. And God promises to stay with us forever.


      At Jesus’ Last Supper, he tells them that he the finite Jesus has to leave, so he can become infinite. So his grace and love would become infinite. So, the Christ can be wherever love and grace are….

      So that he can really stay with us…

      so that “you will be where I am.”

       so that, “you are in me and I am in you.”      Amen. 

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