Advent is a season of waiting ... for Jesus’ birth, for Christmas. Yet I find myself these days thinking of quite a different season of preparation, Lent. I’m drawn back in memory to a drama called “The Living Lord’s Supper” that was a popular staple of our congregation’s Lenten observance for many years. Essentially, it’s a dramatization of Leonardo da Vinci’s great painting of the Last Supper.
Each actor took the role of one of the apostles depicted in the painting. Each apostle delivered a brief soliloquy, as if he were answering the question, Is it I? Each, in turn, walked to the front of the chancel while the rest remained frozen in place, posing exactly as Leonardo had painted him. John, James, Simon, Thomas—they were all there.
I was Matthew, every year. I considered it an honor to portray him because of the sort of extraordinary person of faith that Matthew was. We remember him as the evangelist who wrote in his Gospel one of the great stories of Jesus’ birth. But “my” Matthew talked about the life-changing experience he’d had when Jesus stopped by his toll booth one day and called him to follow.
Matthew was one who heard and followed, leaving behind his lucrative income as a tax collector. Everything changed the day Jesus came into his life—including his name, no longer Levi. Jesus gave Matthew a whole new life.
In this Advent season of waiting, are we listening for Jesus’ call? When we hear it, will we, with Matthew, follow? Are we ready for the life-changing experience of Christ’s coming that is Christmas?
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers