OUTLOOK: Relive Jesus’ Last Meal with His Disciples at ‘The Living Last Supper’
Published 4:00 am Sunday, April 2, 2023
There is no visual interpretation more recognizable of Christ’s last meal before his crucifixion than Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”
Rich in color and steeped in symbolism, the fresco depicts the moment after Jesus reveals to his apostles that one of them will betray him. During Holy Week, this painting of Da Vinci’s will come to life as Crawford Street United Methodist Church presents Ruth Elaine Schram’s “The Living Last Supper.”
“The play is a depiction of the disciples’ final hours with Jesus and gives a true inside look at the disciples’ feelings as they question and doubt themselves as followers once they find out one of them will betray him,” Nick Wright said.
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Wright, who is a member of CSUMC and will be portraying Jesus in the production, describes the play as emotional.
“I believe the audience will feel the pain and sorrow of the disciples,” he said, because of each apostle’s monologue directed at Jesus. And because of the connection, the audience will feel that the actors are “familiar faces” from the community.
Participation in the production is not limited to just members of the church. Others from outside CSUMC are also participating in the performance which includes an orchestra and a choir.
For centuries before Jesus came to earth, each year when the spring harvest began, the Jewish people were instructed to remember the emancipation of Israel from slavery in Egypt by observing Passover. Ritual prayers of blessing were learned and recited. All leaven was removed from the house, a specific set of foods was prepared on dishes used only for this occasion and a ceremony was performed by each family through which the story of the Exodus was retold.
The instructions for the Passover Feast were given to Moses before the Ten Commandments, and it pre-dates all other feasts. Its importance was made clear when Jesus chose to celebrate this feast during His last hours.
As for a favorite moment in the play, Wright said for him, it is during the “feet-washing ceremony.”
“It symbolizes an act of humbleness from someone who is holy and without sin. Even Jesus can get on his hands and knees to wash the filth off his disciples’ feet, which is so eye-opening to me,” Wright said.
And while he said he has “read the story hundreds of times,” portraying Christ in the production has deepened his feelings about the Last Supper.
This is not Wright’s first time to perform, he said, but it is his first time to do a play he feels “passionate about.”
“I feel so honored to be able to represent Jesus and all he has given us. This is something I will hold dear in my heart, especially since the church is like my second home,” he said. “I am glad to be in a play that depicts one of the most important moments in my religion.”
In addition to Wright, cast members include Allen Hudspeth, who will play Simon Peter; Ernie Smith, Andrew; Blake Malone, James the Lesser; Reece Herring, James the Major; Mark Jefferson, Matthew; Eric Posey, Simon the Zealot; Roger Lutrell, Bartholomew/Nathanael; Cody Eckhardt, Philip; Ty Wamsley, Thaddeus/Jude; Josh Turner, John; Richard VanDenAkker, Thomas and Jack Burns, Judas.
The performance of “The Living Last Supper” will begin at 6:30 p.m. April 6 — Maundy Thursday — in the sanctuary at Crawford Street United Methodist Church, 900 Crawford St., and will culminate with the sharing of communion.
The program is free and will last approximately one hour. A nursery will be provided.
For more information about “The Living Last Supper,” call 601-636-5612.