The strangest things can happen around your table

What happens around your family dinner table?

a very messy eatera boy eating at a table

  • Food is served (and sometimes eaten).
  • Conversation unfolds.
  • Stories are told.
  • Things get messy.
  • Games are played.
  • Bread is broken.
  • Memories are made.

Here’s a table where I’m sure this happened…

Last Supper, 1896 work by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret
Jesus and his disciples share the Last Supper

Well, okay. They probably didn’t play any games.
(But don’t that that stop you! See here for suggestions of games to play at the dinner table.)

What happens around your dinner table?
Are questions expressed, discussion encouraged, and disciples of Jesus cultivated?

Why not start today? Use this mini reading plan with discussion questions.

If you’d like to print out this reading plan/discussion guide, click here.
(Check out the other mini reading plans for our Rotation on the events of Holy Week here. If your kids aren’t clear about the order of the events of Holy Week, start at the beginning.)

Read Talk about or do…
Luke 22:7-15 What is your favorite mealtime gathering? What sort of preparations are required? What is served at this meal? Why do you enjoy it?
Why do you suppose Jesus “earnestly” wanted to share this meal with his disciples?
Mark 14:12-16 What is the Festival of Unleavened Bread? What is the Passover lamb? (Hint: look at Exodus 12:1-14.)
How likely do you think it would be for the disciples to find a man carrying a jug of water? (Remember this is back in Jesus’ time when water retrieving was strictly women’s work.) There seems to be a bit of secrecy to this planning. Why do you suppose that was needed? (Remember what sort of danger was Jesus in.)
Describe the details about how you would plan a secret location for a party.
John 13:1-5 Name the worst clean-up task that you can imagine. (Perhaps cleaning up after a sick puppy or washing the kitchen floor after a mishap involving a dozen raw eggs?)
Why do you suppose the disciples feet needed washing? (Hint: think about their footwear and the roads in those days.)
John 13:1-11 Why do you suppose Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet? Would you want your teacher at school to wash your feet? Name someone whom you’d never want to wash your feet. Why not?
What do Peter’s feelings tell us about his relationship to Jesus?
John 13:12-17 How is washing someone’s feet an act of service? What do you suppose Jesus meant by saying that his disciples should wash other people’s feet? Did he mean literally??
Get out a small basin, some soap and a towel. Put some warm water into the basin and wash each others feet. What are you thinking as your feet are bathed?
John 13:14-15 We know what will happen to Jesus. We know how Judas will betray him, and Peter will deny him. Yet Jesus washes both Judas and Peter’s feet! Think about an act of service that you would struggle to do for someone, if you knew they were going to be mean to you in the future.
Name some acts of service we can do for others. Are these hard or easy to do?
Matthew 26:20-25 What reaction do the disciples have when Jesus drops this “bomb?” How would you have reacted?
The Bible doesn’t tell us why Judas snitched on Jesus. Some theorize that he wanted the money (John 12:4-6). Others propose that Judas was hoping that Jesus’ arrest would prompt Jesus to act more like the warrior king that the Jews had been expecting. (Or as one person has said: “Maybe Judas was throwing Jesus into the deep end of the pool, hoping he’d swim.” Quote source Have you ever wished that God would move a little faster in his plans for you? Have you ever betrayed someone’s trust? Can you describe why you did this?
Luke 22:19-20 What elements of a traditional Passover meal did Jesus turn around and give new meaning to? What is Jesus asking his disciples to do? What is he asking us to do? (Hint: reread Luke 22:19.) What are we suppose to remember – the way Jesus shared the bread and cup or what meaning it has? What meaning does it have?
Matthew 26:26-28 Do you suppose the disciples understood what Jesus was saying about his body and his blood? Would you have understood if you’d been there? How would you have felt when Jesus passed around the bread and the cup?
Matt 26:26-29
Mark 14:22-25
Luke 22:19-20
What similarities do you notice between these three accounts of this story? What differences exist? What do you think of Luke’s additional words about why we should repeat this act? (“Do this in memory of me.” When do we hear those words in church? (at Communion!)

Are memories being made around your table?

Photo credits:
At the table, by kate hiscock and a messy eater, by Matt Preston, both licensed on Flickr under a Creative Commons License. (No changes were made.)
Last Supper, an 1896 work by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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Using a salad bowl to spark family stories

“Do this to remember me.”
Love, Jesus

Communion chalice and bread

Remember the time… Jesus told us to remember?

You have it memorized. It was during that dinner that Jesus had with his disciples. You know. The last one. The one where Jesus invented Communion. Now every time we share the bread and the cup we remember what Jesus did for us.

What do you suppose would happen if we stopped telling stories to our children? Pretty soon, they’d forget! When the very first Passover occurred, God instructed Moses to tell the people to not forget this event. Every year on the anniversary of the first Passover, they were to tell their children the story of God’s intervention and their freedom from slavery in Egypt. (Read about this command in Exodus 12:24-27).

Are we finding enough occasions to tell our stories? How about around the family dinner table? Here’s an easy way to make sure that telling our stories happens.

Let’s make a salad!

Zoe made Bunny Salad

Not that kind of salad. But our “recipe” does call for a salad bowl!

Before dinner take some slips of paper and write on them storytelling prompts. Things like…

  • A summer story
  • A school story
  • I was embarrassed when…
  • A celebration or holiday
  • An adventure
  • A food story
  • A family joke
  • My first memory
  • I was afraid when…
  • i knew God was involved when…
  • I trusted God when…
  • A question I’d like to ask God
  • Add your own ideas!

Mix up all the pieces of paper in the salad bowl and place the bowl on the table during dinner. At the appropriate time, have each family member take a turn drawing a slip from the bowl and telling a story.

Jesus was celebrating a remembering-Passover-supper when he gave us new instructions to remember a different sort of event: Jesus’ death for us. May we never forget to tell the whole story!

Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Chalice and bread by James Emery and Zoe made bunny salad by Michael Newton, both licensed on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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The Last Supper, with apologies to Leonardo

Here it is! The pictures created in our Photography Workshop for our Rotation on The Last Supper. (Just the 4th, 5th and 6th graders visited this workshop.)

The 6th Graders (and their Shepherd) create a tableaux of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

Students start off this workshop talking about what dinner time is typically like in their home, and what is done differently at special times, such as birthdays. Then they review the story about Jesus’ special last meal that he shared with his disciples on the night before he was killed. Something happened at this last supper that makes us still talk about it more than 2000 years later! Jesus gave his followers a way to remember him. Today, we still practice this same ritual!

The 4th graders re-enact Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper
There weren’t very many there that day, but the 4th Grade (plus their Shepherd) create their version of Leonardo’s painting.

What’s the process involved in creating this picture? Students are randomly assigned to portray the participants that were at the first Last Supper. They study art prints (with magnifying glasses!) of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper. Then it’s into costumes and recreating da Vinci’s painting using a technique called “frozen picture” or tableaux.

The workshop leader at work with her camera
The Shepherd gets everyone into postion and the Workshop leader snaps a few photos of the 6th graders.

After the photos are shot, the students look at the pictures on a TV screen and choose the best shot. For further learning, the student who portrayed each disciple reads a blurb about that disciple.

students view the resulting pictures on the TV.
Which picture turned out the best?

The 5th graders create a tableaux of The Last Supper
And here are the 5th Graders on the week when they visited the Photography workshop.

From notes made by da Vinci we can identify each of the disciples in his painting. From left to right it would have been: 1– Bartholomew, 2–James the Younger, 3–Andrew, 4–Judas, 5–Peter, 6–John, Jesus, 7–Thomas, 8 – James, 9– Phillip, 10–Matthew, 11-Thaddeus, 12–Simon.

For comparison, here’s a look at da Vinci’s The Last Supper

da Vinci's The Last Supper

How did they do?

Photo credits…
Photos of kids portraying The Last Supper by Alice Nuttall. Used with permission.
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is in the Public domain, the picture shown is via Wikimedia Commons.

Studying the Last Supper

At FUMC our Cool Disciples experience Rotation Model Christian education, as they learn about Bible stories and concepts through kid-friendly multimedia workshops.

In this season of Lent we are studying the story of the Last Supper. Since Easter happens annually, we get to spend time on a different aspect of the Easter story every year. In other years we’ve covered the Garden of Gethsemane, the Empty Tomb/Resurrection Appearances, Easter through Peter’s eyes, and the overall sequence of the events of Easter week.

The Last Supper is the last meal that Jesus and his disciples share prior to Jesus’ death. Read about the story of the Last Supper in Luke 22:7-20.

A frozen picture of da Vinci's Last Supper
From the Photography workshop from the last time we did this Rotation. These kids have now graduated from high school! They were in 6th grade in 2005.

Here is how we studied this story:

  • In the Art Workshop we discussed the celebratory meal that Jesus shared with his disciples. Kids decorated a glass plate; a plate to use at your next special meal.
  • In the Cooking Workshop students will help make and experience a “mini” Seder meal, the meal that Jesus’ and his disciples were sharing at the Last Supper.
  • In the Photography Workshop students will use a technique called “Frozen Picture” to experience the Last Supper (as painted by Leonardo da Vinci).
  • In the Video 1 Workshop (for 1st – 3rd graders) students will watch a video with puppets called How Can I Celebrate Passover? A Young Christian’s Introduction to the Seder.
  • In the Video 2 Workshop (for 4th – 6th graders) students will watch the live-action video The Last Supper.

This Rotation comes around again in 2018. I wonder what workshops we’ll use this year?


Photo credits:
The Last Supper re-created, copyright 2005, by Alice Nuttall.