Dear Friends,

At Ravensthorpe with Hopton we have a Tapestry of the Last Supper, which was done by my late Grandma Pat, a member of our Congregation for many years, as were our family before her.  Looking back in records, our family has been coming here, more or less since the original Congregational Church was built, some even Secretary and Treasurers, so I am following in my family’s footsteps.  However, I digress….

How many are familiar with The Da Vinci Code, written by Dan Brown?

Whether what it says is true or not, there are some similarities in what it says in the book/film, and what you see on Grandma’s work here.  There is feminine looking figure on the picture, it is mentioned it could be Mary Magdaline, who the Catholic Church portray as a prostitute, however, some Biblical Scholars argue otherwise – one of Christ’s friends maybe?  It looks like it here!  Who knows the truth, but you can’t deny the feminine figure in this picture.

The Last Supper is the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion.  The Last Supper is commemorated by Christians especially on Holy Thursday.   The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as “Holy Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper”.

The First Epistle to the Corinthians contains the earliest known mention of the Last Supper.  The four gospels state that the Last Supper took place in the week of Passover, days after Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and before Jesus was crucified on Good Friday.  During the meal, Jesus predicts his betrayal by one of the apostles present, and foretells that before the next morning, Peter will thrice deny knowing him. 

The First Epistle to the Corinthians includes the account of the institution of the Eucharist in which Jesus takes bread, breaks it and gives it to those present, saying “This is my body given to you”.  The Gospel of John tells of Jesus washing the feet of the apostles, giving the new commandment “to love one another as I have loved you”, and has a detailed farewell discourse by Jesus, calling the apostles who follow his teachings “friends and not servants”, as he prepares them for his departure.

The overall narrative that is shared in all Gospel accounts that leads to the Last Supper is that after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem early in the week, and encounters with various people and the Jewish elders, Jesus and his disciples share a meal towards the end of the week.  After the meal, Jesus is betrayed, arrested, tried, and then crucified.

Key events in the meal are the preparation of the disciples for the departure of Jesus, the predictions about the impending betrayal of Jesus, and the foretelling of the upcoming denial of Jesus by Apostle Peter.

Historians estimate that the date of the crucifixion fell in the range AD 30–36.  Isaac Newton and Colin Humphreys ruled out the years 31, 32, 35, and 36 on astronomical grounds, leaving 7 April AD 30 and 3 April AD 33 as possible crucifixion dates.  Humphreys proposes narrowing down the date of the Last Supper as having occurred in the evening of Wednesday, 1 April 33 AD.

The Last Supper, has been said to take place in an upper room, historians have worked out, that this building was on Mount Zion, just outside the walls of Jerusalem.

Whatever the History and tales, true or not, it means something to us. 

When I first did my training, I stood behind our Communion Table, and went through it all, start to finish.  Revd John Mackerness said “How was that for you?”  I couldn’t describe the feeling, doing something that Jesus did all that time ago, and stood behind that table was a feeling I have never ever felt before, and every time I preside over Holy Communion, it feels like an honour, that shouldn’t be mine.

Robert Naylor

Ravensthorpe with Hopton

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