Wednesday of Holy Week


Gospel Lesson: Mark 14:12-17

Key Verse: The disciples left, came into the city, found everything just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover meal.


For most of us, the image that shapes the meal in the upper room is Leonardo DaVinci’s painting, The Last Supper. Jesus and twelve disciples, with enough details to puzzle generations of art and biblical scholars, a moment captured for eternity. Only when we learn more about the Jewish tradition of the Passover meal do we recognize that the image is incomplete. The ritual requires the presence of at least one woman, who lights the candles and begins the observance. Young people are necessary to ask the historic questions that define the occasion. And in Jesus’ time, guests did not sit, but reclined at the table. When we think of Jesus’ disciples, the twelve men who are named come to mind. In this passage, the gospel writer is clear that disciples were sent to prepare the Passover meal, but the Twelve arrive later, with Jesus. In our family celebrations, it is often women who care for the plans and preparations. Because Passover is a family celebration, it is likely that at least some of the disciples sent to prepare were women, maybe the same ones who have been providing for Jesus’ ministry with their money. When we add women and children to picture, when we remember this is a gathering of family and close friends, the meal in the upper room adds texture and richness to our faith that DaVinci’s painting, with all its intricate details, cannot add.


Meditation/Call to Action

  • Even the most familiar of stories can surprise us with details we failed to notice, with insights we hadn’t caught, with new meanings relevant to a particular moment in our life. What, if anything, surprises you about this reading of a very familiar story?
  • If we think of holy communion as a celebration of family and close friends, akin to the Passover meal which is one of its origins, does it change how we receive the elements and offer our thanks to God?
  • In what ways does that expand our experience of the words, “Do this in remembrance of me”?



You invite all of us, O God,

            to share at your table of grace.

You call people of all genders, races and ethnicities to be your disciples,

            and give them the opportunity to prepare for your holy meal.

We are humbled by your invitation,

            and honored to serve your people at the holy meal. Amen.


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