Several years ago, the Pastor at our church asked me if I knew a particular women that was in our congregation. I did not. He told me she and I had parallel interests, that he was certain we would be fast friends, and that I should contact her. I did, we do, and we are. I phoned her and we set a lunch date. Oh my! She loves to study the Word (sound familiar?), she has a deep and special interest in the women of the Bible (definitely a long time passion of mine), she has a deep desire to see women free in the Lord ( something I am passionate about), she is a retired English Professor (hello!), and author(oh if only, eh?). Well, Pastor got it right, we were fast friends. It did not take long for our light lunch fare to become heavy and wonderful conversation. As we shared with each other how God had been so vital and fulfilling in our lives, we made an interesting discovery. Millie, my new and fast friend, said that while she and her husband were missionaries in Taiwan, they had worked with a lady missionary that had the same last name I did. She wondered if I knew of her. Knew of her??? She is only the best Aunt on the planet!! Millie had worked with my husbands' Aunt Dorothy, for four years some forty years ago. Small world? Yep! Coincidence? Come on... you know me better than to think I believe in coincidences. God was at work, and He was shining out strong in our lunch date. Since that time, I have grown to love, Millie Samuelson. Her heart is so bent toward the Lord, and what he has done, and is doing in the lives of women. This is a quote off of her website.
"Growing up in China, Millie saw how the Christian faith gave dignity and freedom to Chinese girls and women. Not only were their feet unbound, but their lives as well."
When Millie was a little girl in China, her father asked her if she imagined that it was only men at the Last Supper. In that conversation, something was birthed in Millie's heart. She began very young to explore the role of women in scripture. Though Millie, has authored other books, I will only mention two of them and then one she is penning now. The first in the series of three is titled, Men and Women of the Last Supper: We Were There Together. The second is, Women of the Last Supper: We Were There Too. The book she is writing now is I believe titled, Children of the Last Supper: We Were There Listening. You can find out more about these books on the website link above, or just click here.
I mention these books because of what I am about to share with you. After Millie, published the first book, our church began performing the monologues from its amazing pages, throughout Lent. Every Wednesday, beginning with Ash Wednesday, until the Thursday before Easter, our church had dinner together. Each Wednesday, all the disciples, and the women that were most likely present at the Last Supper would be there in full costume. A few disciples would perform their monologue from Millie's books at each dinner. The women that were there in costume also spoke monologues. I have been Mary Magdalene, in these performances. Oh, what a blessing. How could Millie, have known how much that story meant to me? She didn't, but God certainly did. I was honored to do it. I may write more on that someday. If I do, I will ask Millie, for her permission to post the monologue she wrote for Mary Magdalene, that I did, on this blog. We were invited to other churches to perform as well. Oh, what an experience. Millie has given me permission to write a script for a play from the inspiration I have gotten from her book. I have a pretty big project in the works right now, but that script is on tap for the summer! Millie, if you are reading this, I want to publicly thank you for so many hours of prayer, research, writing, editing and rewriting that you have put into these wonderful books. Thank you.
Now, for this year. I mentioned the third book in this series, Children of the Last Supper: We Were There Listening. Well, though it is not off to the printer yet, we performed out of it. Remember the account of Jairus' daughter? You can read about it here, here and here. This last book reflects the historical and spiritual perspective of the children that most likely were there. If the women were there, the children were too. And if there was food being served, the women were there. The new covenant using bread and wine was part of the evening, but supper was served as well. Jairus' daughter ( a youth at church) performed a monologue from this newest book, of what Jesus would have meant to her. These monologues though not word for word scripture, give you an historical and scriptural perspective of what it would have been like to be there. Instead of being the Last Supper all those years and cultures ago, it becomes a real, present and relevant event when you can get a glimpse of what it might have been like to be there. Very wonderful road to ponder down. I love those things that make Jesus so real to me. Precious!
Click on the pictures to enlarge them if you like.
Since we added the children this year, Millie gave us some amended instructions before our Last Supper was performed. That is my dear friend herself standing in this first picture. Perhaps you recognize Jon, seated in the photo facing us.
Millie is in my circle at church, and so are these women. These are two of my favorite sisters on the planet! We were in the ladies room preparing to perform. Couldn't resist this shot.
Here we are, Jon and I. I loved making these costumes. Actually, I love every aspect of drama. My grand daughter wants to be in a performance like this, and wants me to make her a costume just like mine. She is the older of the two that I made those cowgirl costumes for. She is also the reason I will get that play written this year. :-)
There are two people missing in this photo, but you get the idea. Jairus' daughter is front and center. Jesus is in at the table, in white. He is more commonly known as, Pastor.
Some call the Thursday before Easter Sunday, Maundy Thursday. Some call it, Holy Thursday. This day is referred to as "Maundy Thursday", because of how Jesus gave a new commandment to those in the upper room after Judas left. Maundy is derived from the Latin word, mandatum, which means command (mandate).
I call it, Fellowship Thursday. That is precisely what Jesus was doing with those there, and the new covenant given that night gave us and all people, the opportunity to choose to have fellowship with Him, yet today and forever.
I can not close this post with mentioning something wonderful that happened that night at church. I will start by sharing a little about Communion, since that is what this Thursday, night was really about. Often churches, therefore people, focus on the forgiveness aspect of Communion. In and of itself, that is great and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. The problem is that there is so much more. And, when we don't have an understanding of that we miss some very precious blessings. Read with me in Isaiah 53: 4-5.
Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. (AMP)
When Jesus went to the cross, he took every need we had and redeemed it there. When He conquered death and came up out of that grave, he gave all the answers to all our problems the power they needed to come to fruition. Hallelujah!! He gave us resurrection power, the ability to come up out of any problem we face.
Now of course we have to believe those promises. To believe them we must first know what they are. We have to have faith in God's word. And, we must choose to receive them when we ask for them, and believe we receive them. There is so much to write about all of that, and I will go into more on that later in a future post. But, if you want to live a life clothed in victory, that's the pattern for the victory cloak.
So, lets review what Isaiah had to say. Essentially, Jesus took all of our weaknesses and problems on Himself, and nailed them to the cross. His body was beaten and cut open so we could have healing in our bodies. His blood ran out as a result of such mutilation so we could have forgiveness for our sins. His spirit was tormented so we could have peace. God gave us Jesus, and Jesus gave us Himself, just to redeem us back from the curse. God loved us enough to give us everything, at a cost that bankrupt Heaven.
So, can you guess what I am doing when I take Communion? Often I have my Bible out on my lap and am thanking God for ALL He has done for me. You know how some religions call the bread and wine the "Eucharist"? Well, that is just a fancy word for what they deem "consecrated elements" for Communion. If you drop the capital "E", and simply spell it eucharist, it simply means "thanks", or "giving thanks", or "thanksgiving". In the Greek, eu means "good". Charisma means, "divine favor". And originally Eucharist was, Eukarist, a combination of the two. So simply put, "good divine favor that we are thankful for". Long before I started studying words, I was spending my time at the Communion table, in communion with God, thanking Him for His merciful, wonderful, abundant favor... His grace to me! I was so tickled when I realized that in blind faith I was actually on the mark. Oh, did you know that sin really means, "to miss the mark". That just popped out. Okay focus. Often, I am reading this while I am at the Communion table.
Psalm 103: 1-6
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
The Lord gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly. (NLT)
And now about that wonderful something that happened that Thursday, night. After we were done with our performance, Communion was served. During the distributing of the bread and grape juice, I had such a pressing in my spirit to pray for my husband's shoulder to neck area. Jon had been going to a Chiropractor for some pain he was having in that area. Jon does not seek medical help unless it is absolutely necessary, and then he fudges as much as he can. So, enough said. The Chiropractor had just ordered an MRI. Jon's condition was not good. Jon knows how to believe God for healing and so do I. We have seen it different times in our family. Anyway, I was really feeling pressed to pray about it. Then, I felt the Lord move me to not just pray about it, but to lay hands on him and pray over it. There was a woman at our table that I knew understood biblical healing, and also knew how to receive it. So it was no surprise when I felt the Holy Spirit lead me to ask her to if she would get in agreement with me over, Jon. She was happy to do it. Thank you, for your yielded and sweet heart, Elaine! God laid it on my heart to ask Jon if it would be okay if we prayed over him. He was good with that. I then felt the Lord lay it on my heart to tell Jon to just receive the healing by faith when we he took the bread and juice. He said he would. The earth did not quake. The building did not shake. But, I felt a complete peace for obedience. You gotta love that feeling... I do! Next day, Jon is at the Chiropractor for an adjustment. He told Jon to cancel the MRI. He couldn't figure it out really, but the problem did not exist anymore. Jon was and is, pain free! Thank you, Jesus for:
For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD... Jeremiah 30:17 (NKJV)