By LINDA M. LINONIS
The Rev. Rob McFarland, pastor of Chestnut Ridge Church of God, believes the Maundy Thursday presentation of the Last Supper has been well- received because “it’s so visual and interactive.”
“People are so visually oriented today,” he said.
The presentation planned for today’s Maundy Thursday observance will begin with foot-washing at 6:30 p.m. that recalls Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples. Participants also may visit the marketplace, where they may see such scenes as fishermen mending their nets and spices, linens and baskets for sale.
The pastor said men and women are separated into two groups to make sure everyone is comfortable with the foot-washing process. “It’s an act of servitude that Jesus performed,” he said. “It’s about bowing down before our brothers and sisters.”
Pastor McFarland described the overall event as a “service of caring” and one that is “meaningful.” It is interactive because participants can participate in foot-washing and talk to market vendors.
The Last Supper takes place in the church sanctuary, which serves as the Upper Room. Participants watch as the disciples filter in individually or in groups. “There’s celebrating when Jesus arrives,” he said.
Worship segments of praise music will be interspersed among the arrivals. “It’s a worshipful experience,” said Pastor McFarland, who is in the cast. Pastor Don Peace leads the worship.
Becky Peace, director, said the church has staged the Maundy Thursday presentation since 2001.
Each year, the event attracts new participants and audience. “It’s different every time we do it,” she said. She credited the “cooperation and work of members” that makes the presentation possible.
She said children especially like the marketplace because they can touch things.
Peace said the presentation is performed to a prerecorded narrative that was made by church members. That removes the pressure of having to learn lines but doesn’t seem to detract from the presentation.
“I hope people who see it go away with understanding the real meaning of Easter ... see it with new eyes,” Peace said. “We hope they understand what Christ did for them and focus on appreciating that.”