Reflections for Holy Week: Resonances of Holy in the Ordinary

By John Skillen, Ph.D., Senior Advisor to Global Education

If only from reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Last Supper, most of us have seen the arrangement of the Last Supper typical in Renaissance art. The disciples sit along the outer side of the table, Jesus at the center (and sometimes Judas alone on the opposite side). In fact, all paintings with this arrangement—there are hundreds—occur as frescoes on the end wall of dining halls in monasteries. They are purposefully designed to imitate or complete how the members of the community were seated for their meals at tables along the other walls. Placed with the disciples, the effect is to associate every meal with the Last Supper, hearing the Lord’s final words and actions as though directed to you.

What might happen if we worked up a similar habit of seeking out resonances and parallels between the ordinary places and practices of our daily life and the episodes of Jesus’s life? What if our own meals (to speak only of food stuff) were suffused with whiffs and memories of the Wedding at Cana, Jesus’s meal with Mary and Martha, his dining with Zaccheus, the Supper at Emmaus, when he was revealed in the breaking of the bread?

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“Reflections for Holy Week”—daily devotionals written by Gordon College faculty and compiled by the Center for Faith and Inquiry (CFI)—was first published in the spring 2018 issue of STILLPOINT magazineCFI is dedicated to forming thoughtful Christians for global engagement by carrying on valued traditions and innovating new ones—such as the Distinguished Visiting Scholars program, Jeffersonian dinners, the Gordon College Symposium and a variety of publications.