April 5, 2018
“The Last Supper”… is a story retold, year after year from generation to generation. This year this story was told in a very special way. So very special that I was not sure what to expect from accepting an invitation to attend the performance of “The Living Last Supper” at Lutheran Church of the Atonement, Atlanta, GA.
Directed by Mrs. Eva Hamer, the Atonement Men in Mission engaged me in a chilling, authentic, yet melancholy reenactment of “The Last Supper.” The performance transported me to that night in Galilee and left me hoping that I am worthy of the sacrifice.
Called Maundy Thursday, most significant for me as a Lutheran is to think of it as the birth of the Eucharist, the first Holy Communion. The twelve Apostles and Jesus (portrayed by the Rev. Ronald Bonner) would partake of the Last Supper like that of a family feast in honor of a loved one preparing to bid farewell. Each eating of the bread, signifying Christ’s body, and drinking of the cup, representing Christ’s blood that would be inevitably shed.
Peter (Lionel Gordon) ponders not only over why would he betray Jesus as predicted; but will he really be the one. He asks the question several times and his voice quivers as guilt consumes him, as you would imagine, more rapidly than the venom of a snake rushing into one’s blood stream, “Is it I”? “Is it I”? “Is it I”?
Thomas (Clyde Barron) holds steady the pose of the famous da Vinci’s depiction of Thomas; fore finger up, steady stare and the constant presence of shock. He too would ask the question “Is it I”, but not before the betrayer himself. Judas (Bernard Welmaker, Sr.) has his hand filled with silvers and doubt, each weighing heavily on his heart of disbelief. (Welmaker’s voice is strong, clear and does not allow his southern lilt to betray the sincerity to which he most dearly clings.)
The voice of the Beloved Sweetheart Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson would soon fill the room singing: