By Emily Ferguson
With the current ban on gatherings, Easter will look different this year for Christian churches all over the world. Even churches that had previously experimented with the form of their gatherings are being forced to re-imagine once again.
Basic Church, a collective of Fresh Hope missional communities in Parramatta, has for the past few years hosted an event called ‘Last Supper Experience’ as a way of entering into the Easter story, exploring Jesus’ gift for us and his invitation to join Him in the world. This year, they are taking it online.
“A key value for us is deep community, so our gatherings are generally around meals as a place where we can linger together and chat,” said Steve Hodgson, Pastor at Basic Church. “We also value cultivating habits that draw us closer to Jesus and help us grow in Him. Our slow and intentional Last Supper Experience helps anchor our church values and rhythms in Easter.
“It’s also a way for people to reflect on how the Cross is impacting them and being lived out in their life, as well as what it looks like for them to be finding their identity as one who has been saved and redeemed through what Jesus has done, and called to follow in his footsteps.”
Conducted online for the first time this year, the meal is based around the Last Supper and Henri Nouwen’s associated teaching in his book Life of the Beloved. The meal is structured around four stages of the Last Supper where Jesus takes, blesses, breaks and gives the bread. Nouwen teaches that as well as seeing himself as the bread in each of those stages, Jesus invites his disciples to join him.
The meal typically lasts for two to three hours, with each person bringing a different component of the meal. At each stage, the person leading speaks into that scene and each person then shares a reflection of what it means to them that year.
“This year we have sent out a recipe list for people to cook their own dinner at home, as well as a document asking them to watch videos of Henri Nouwen, read through the Last Supper in one of the gospels and prepare themselves for the meal. On Thursday night we’ll jump on Zoom at 8pm, eat our dinner and share,” Steve said.
“This is something any family, small group or couple could do together. It’s about intentionally making the space to talk deeply about God, what he’s doing in your life, and how he’s shaping you. It’s a beautiful thing to participate in.”
You can access another Easter resource developed by Basic Church HERE.
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