Playdates: The Last Supper

Good Friday looms gray and the sky roars. We awaken to pounding rain, the house shakes with thunder. I press my forehead to the window and look up into white skies, draw breath at swaying trees.

Surely the Kingdom is breaking through…lamenting the memory that bleeds deep into the earth on this day.

It is also the first day of spring break. The boys stand beside me and stare at the rain. They know. There will be no wildflower hike today. No badminton or a day trip to one of the state parks. It’s an inside day.

By noon the rain has slowed to a soft drizzle so I pile them in the van, grab my Bible and we go searching for a holy moment in this soggy day. I’ve wanted to see since I heard the testimony from a dead man—his dear friend spoke of how his deceased friend brought a small group to this place…how it moved them all.

But it seemed odd to look for life in the place where the dead sleeps. So I never went. But today, I need life-giving moments. I need to remember. And I want them to too.

So we drive to the cemetery.

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I get the key to the mausoleum from the office and the caretaker asks, have you been here before? Have you seen it?

No, I say. This is the first time.

He smiles and says he hopes we enjoy. It’s life sized, you know.

We drive up the narrow ribbon, squeeze in between the dead and my boys are quiet. I wonder to myself, have they ever been to a cemetery before? And the answer is no and for a moment, I shiver at God’s great mercy.

The flowers have been placed and they roll out endlessly before us and there are sculpture gardens in between and I say, it’s pretty, isn’t it? But the place we are going is in the very back of the cemetery and I park and we get out and they still don’t have words.

I unlock the door and we enter slow, peek around the corner.

They want to know why there are names on the walls. And, what does it mean if there is a birth date, but no date of death? They speak in hushed tones, as if the dead will wake, and they run fingers over names carved in stone.

We have arrived and when they see it, their questions are stilled. We sit in the chapel and let the memory fall over us. For, we do remember this night. We remember it in hearts and veins and synapses. It is part of our story.

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We stand in front of the table and study the faces and breathe deep. A sculpture, a piece of art cannot capture it all. But it helps.

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Close your eyes, I say, and listen.

They do and I read the scripture. And we hold hands and pray. When we leave, the sun has come out. I lock the doors. We drive around and look at the other sculptures. Until it starts to rain again.

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When I return the key I ask the man about the artist. He doesn’t know the name. I think he is deceased now. It’s been part of our gardens since the 1960s, he says. He first made one for a church in St. Louis. We had to have one, so we commissioned him to make another. In 1964 it was featured in the World’s Fair in New York.

But he didn’t know the name.

We are quiet the rest of the day. And the rain keeps falling.

How about you? How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Beautiful story, Laura.

    I linked up for playdates today, because I’m finding that witnessing (and influencing, when I can) my grandson’s developing faith draws me so much closer to Him!

  2. says

    Made me cry.

    It’s wonderful, isn’t it, how as our kids get just that littlest bit older, we can begin to share these hushed moments, these deeper things?

    Beautiful, Laura.

  3. says

    That looks amazing!

    One of my favorite recent memories was during my grandfather’s funeral, when my little 3-year-old cousin ran around the cemetery picking flowers off the graves to give to her mother as a present. Her mother was mortified, but the rest of us thought it was so sweet.

  4. says

    Laura as always Im so blessed and touched when I come here.
    Todays playdate was amazing. The art work the adventure with the boys. It leaves me breathless and speechless.
    Blessings

  5. says

    ” The first is the life-size, sculpture of The Last Supper by Dominic Zappia. “

    http://www.jodysattic.com/product/1964-worlds-fair-last-supper-art-souvenir-postcard-book

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dreambirdz/2428822207/

    http://aftercareplanning.com/floral-lawns-cemetery/

    Zappia as a native of Italy emigrating “to Kansas City in 1925 to do the sculpture on Lowe’s [sic] Midland Theater.”

    Dominic Zappia (born in Italy in 1901 and emigrating to Kansas City in 1926, with residence at 6820 Sni-a-Bar Road

    Dominic John Zappia

  6. Len says

    Your posts are always great
    But this one takes the cake!
    Beautiful shots of a wonderful sculpture! I am blessed to have seen this. TYTYTY, Laura.

    (and nice research, Nance!)

  7. says

    Awesome!

    My playdate with God happened yesterday. I took a walking tour of a town with my husband and glimpsed life from the past and saw in sorrow life not so great in this present of the town we were in, the darkness, and yet the joy as someone on a guitar sang about Jesus and children plucked eggs from trees before the darkness swept away the innocents and crowded into the afternoon.

  8. says

    It is amazing Laura. I can only imagine what it is like in person.
    I’m so glad the boys were touched by all that touches your heart. They are growing in wisdom and grace.

  9. says

    What an incredible sculpture! And then you had a precious encounter with your kids. You were twice-blessed.

    Thank you, Laura, for your kind words on my last week’s post. I hope you had a blessed, Christ-filled Easter. And here, as you requested, is my latest “take” on BEAUTY.

    I’ll try again tomorrow to post my link from Playdates. (Couldn’t even make the link FROM my site to yours work; that’s usually okay.) I misspelled the title of the post the first time and now the url keeps wanting to insert it (even though I corrected it. grr.)

    For anyone who would like to see my “Playdates” post:

    It wants to say:
    http://kingfishercrossing.blogspot.com/2011/04/kworth-more-than-five-cents.html

    but it really SHOULD say:
    http://kingfishercrossing.blogspot.com.2011/04/worth-more-than-five-cents.html

  10. says

    Sometimes there is such great peace found in the quiet and stillness of a cemetery. The Sculpture of the Last Supper gives hope and peace in that setting especially.

    We have a cemetery in California (forgot I live in AZ??), Forest Lawn, that has a mural of the Last Supper. I never quite made it up there to see it. I guess it will have to be on my list for Cali.

    What a blessing to have your boys respond with such awe!

    Janis

  11. says

    You can never be too late. 🙂
    I’m glad you were able to stretch out your time with your family over the holiday.

    Your encouragement is always to uplifting and life breathing. Thank you so much.

    How far apart are we? Perhaps we might meet around a good “bond”-fire one day. 🙂

  12. says

    Wow. Just wow. And this: “I wonder to myself, have they ever been to a cemetery before? And the answer is no and for a moment, I shiver at God’s great mercy.”

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