Last night we went to a Maundy Thursday service. If you’ve never been, it’s the service that remembers the night of the Last Supper, the night Jesus was betrayed.
The pastor read the passage in Mark 14 where Jesus creates a new covenant with His people. He focused on the words of Christ: “I will not drink of this cup again until I am in the new kingdom.”
As he went on, I thought about that new kingdom. I thought about all the world’s believers sitting in a grand room at tables prepared for a feast. I imagined the people beside me and the people I knew sitting at the tables next to me or across the room, their faces peeping in and out of the back of other followers’ heads. I heard the joyful voices of people who know they are about to enjoy a huge meal of celebration. I felt the happiness that comes from a room full of people united in heart and thought. I looked around at all the faces–most of them strangers, some of them family, some of them friends.
I started searching the faces, recognizing the familiar lines, the familiar smiles, the familiar chins. Who am I not seeing? Who isn’t here that I wish was? Whose face am I missing?
Then it hit me.
I have a friend who, when I met her, was deep in the world of drug taking and drug dealing. By the grace of God, she left that and accepted Christ’s redemptive love. I still remember the way she described her testimony, the moment God carried her out of that life.
“You know the verse that talks about moving from darkness to light? That isn’t metaphorical to me. Before Christ, I lived in the dark. I worked in the dark. I ate in the dark. We were always hiding. I always functioned at night. But now, it’s day. I live in the light. I live during the day.”
A few years ago she left our church and told me she wasn’t sure she still believed in God.
Her face is missing from the table.