LIVING ART. A tribute to Christ. A contemplative event to mark the beginning of Holy Week.
However you view it, a dramatic presentation of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper by a rural church should be on your must-see list for the weekend if you live in my area of southeastern Minnesota.
For 49 years now, St. John’s United Church of Christ, Wheeling Township, has presented Drama of the Last Supper in the old limestone church set among flat farm fields and scattered farm places near Nerstrand Big Woods State Park in Rice County.
At 8 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 17, as darkness falls upon the land, the sanctuary too will darken and the spotlight will shift to 12 men seated at the front of the church. Alan, Grant, Craig, Kyle, Todd, Thad, Keith, Doug, Marty, Brian, Randy and Paul will assume the roles of the 12 disciples.
Christ, if I remember correctly from attending a previous performance, is not portrayed by an actor.
When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” Matthew 26:20 – 21
So the scene unfolds with a monologue featuring each of the 12 disciples and their relationships with Christ.
“I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:29
Enveloped in darkness, listening to the somber words of forthcoming betrayal, worshippers experience the tense emotions that marked The Last Supper, setting the mood for a week that leads to the crucifixion of Christ and then, on Easter morning, to his glorious resurrection.
It is a thoughtful, serious drama presented by the local men, many of whom are repeat performers.
It is worth seeing, worth hearing and worth contemplating as Holy Week begins.
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
FYI: St. John’s is about a 15-minute drive from Faribault. Take Minnesota Highway 60 east and then turn north onto Rice County Road 24. The church is located at 19086 Jacobs Avenue. A fellowship hour, with food, follows the presentation.
© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling