Dali on the Last Supper

Here is surrealist Salvadore Dali’s take on the “Last Supper.” Is it orthodox?

Dali's Last Supper

For You

“All For You”
Text: Mark 14:1 – 15:47 (Philippians 2:5-11)

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth (LSB #438). Why? For you.

For you, Jesus is anointed for His burial.
For you, Jesus is sold into betrayal, and allows Himself to be betrayed.
For you, Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples, and gives His body to eat and His blood to drink.
For you.

For you, Jesus suffers and prays.
For you, Jesus drinks the awful cup of God’s wrath and condemnation against sin.
For you, Jesus does His Father’s will.
For you.

For you, Jesus is arrested, and will not fight back.
For you, Jesus endures a mock trial, standing before those who have already decided His fate, but are just trying to make it look plausible.
For you, Jesus does not defend Himself, but takes the slurs of men against Him.
For you.

For you, Jesus is spit on, punched, and mocked.
For you, Jesus is bound and led to the Roman governor.
For you, Jesus is traded for a murderer.
For you, Jesus is a pawn in a game for power.
For you.

For you, Jesus is scourged – whipped until His flesh is open and raw.
For you, Jesus is clothed is purple and wears a crown of thorns.
For you, Jesus carries the cross on which He will die.
For you.

For you, Jesus takes nothing to deaden the pain.
For you, the nails are punched through His hands and feet, crushing bone and sending waves of pain through tortured limbs.
For you, Jesus is humiliated and reviled.
For you.

For you, Jesus is forsaken – by men who mock Him, but disciples who fear for their own lives, by His Father because He bears the sin of the world.
For you, Jesus will not save Himself.
For you, Jesus endures the darkness of sin.
For you, Jesus bows His head and dies.
For you, Jesus’ body is laid in a tomb.
For you.

For you, because you are a sinner.
For you, because you have made God’s beautiful world a sewer of sin.
For you, because you have used your hands to hurt instead of help.
For you, because you love your things more than your God.
For you, because your mouths tear down instead of build up.
For you, because your minds devise and scheme evil instead of good.
For you.

For you, because upon you is inflicted the sins of others.
For you, because you are hurt and in pain.
For you, because you are mocked and reviled.
For you, because your hearts are broken, your love thrown back in your face, your good deeds trampled and gone unnoticed and unappreciated.
For you, because you weep painful tears.
For you, because you mourn the death of loved ones, even as death draws ever closer to you.
For you, because you are afraid.
For you.

For you, because the devil desires to have you; to sift you, corrupt you, and bring you with him to his never-ending death.

But he cannot have you.
Hell cannot have you.
Sin cannot have you.
Death and the grave cannot have you.
Because for you, a Lamb goes uncomplaining forth.

He came forth from Heaven in His incarnation, to be born for you.
He came forth to the waters of the Jordan to be baptized for you.
He came forth into the wilderness to be tempted for you.
He came forth eating and drinking with sinners like you, not ashamed.
He came forth healing, forgiving, and raising the dead, for you.
He came forth to ascend the cross for you; to die for you; to be buried for you; and to rise for you.
That the curtain of the Temple be torn in two from top to bottom.
The curtain that separated sinful man from a holy God.
The curtain of sin, that could be penetrated only with blood.
The blood of a lamb.
The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

And still today, the Lamb comes uncomplaining forth.
For you.
Here, at this time, in this place, tearing the curtain of sin which veils our hearts with His forgiveness and life.
Coming with His Baptism, that you may be washed and reborn and healed.
Coming with His Absolution, that you may be forgiven and raised and holy.
Coming with His Supper, that you may be fed and strengthened and glorified.
Coming for you, that you may live.

For you, that hell be vanquished.
For you, that the grave be opened.
For you, that the devil be undone.
For you, that your sin be removed from you as far as the East is from the West.
For you, that your minds and hearts be made new, and you live a new life.
Sinner: no more; now: child of God.

All this Jesus does, for you.
And so you are never alone, never without love, never beyond hope.
You will never be forsaken, never condemned, never cast out.
For you live in Jesus and He in you.
What is His is yours, nothing withheld.
Now by promise and faith. But one day by sight, when all things are fulfilled.
When the Lamb goes forth once again, one final time, to gather all who are His own, and establish His kingdom forever.
And we will stand in joy beside Him. (LSB #438 v.4)

Until then, “have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”
He lives for you, that you may live for others.

Let us now enter into this Holy Week, and consider these things.
Let us now come to this altar, and receive the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Let us now rejoice and confess: Hosanna! Lord, save us.
For He has.

In the Name of the Father, and of the ( ) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

One on His right hand and one on His left

Our sermon yesterday was based on the text about James and John asking to sit at Christ’s right hand and His left when He comes into His glory (Mark 10:36-38). This angered the other disciples, but, interestingly, Jesus did not rebuke them. He wants us to ask boldly. James and John didn’t know what they were asking for, really, since they did not then understand the way of the Cross. But they were given distinct blessings: James was the first of the Disciples to be martyred, and John was the last of the Disciples to die. But the two who actually were at Christ’s right hand and His left when He came into His glory were the two thieves who were crucified with him, “one on his right and one on his left” (Mark 15:27).

Then, exploring the end of the text, in which Christ says greatness and authority lies in servanthood, Pastor Douthwaite brought it all around to vocation:

And where does this all lead? To heaven . . . yes, in the end. But not yet. For now, we live in the vomit of sin. No longer our own sin – for Jesus lifts us up and cleanses us and restores us with His life and forgiveness! Now, it is our neighbor’s. That we go to Him as Christ has come to us. That we serve Him as Christ has served us. That we forgive Him as Christ has forgiven us. That we love Him as Christ has loved us. And you are never more glorious than when you do. For when you do, Christ is living in you, and through you.

Happy Annunciation Day

Today is the holy-day set aside to commemorate when the Second Person of the Trinity was conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary. Go here for some fine celebratory material, including YouTubes of Bach performances in which the composer pours out his creativity to celebrate the Incarnation: CyberBrethren-A Lutheran Blog: The Annunciation of Our Lord.

It’s a good day too to reflect on the personhood of the unborn child, with Christ going through the whole process of human development beginning at the moment of His conception.


Atheist groups are looking for ways to undo their baptisms. Some are calling on the Church of England to devise a way to take their names off baptismal rolls. Some are printing out “debaptism certificates” to display that renounce the Christian faith. See BBC NEWS | UK | Atheists call for ‘debaptism’. The thing is, though, they can’t wash away the waters of baptism! Christ has called them to Himself. They can return to that baptism at any time. That atheists should be so obsessed about what they consider a meaningless ritual is itself evidence that baptism has a hold on them.

White House-approved prayers

Al Mohler reports that when the President makes a public appearance, the prayers delivered by local clergymen all have to be vetted and approved before they are allowed. From This Prayer Approved by the White House?:

Is the Obama White House vetting prayers? Dan Gilgoff of U.S. News and World Report reports that this represents a “new tradition” established by the administration of President Barack Obama. As Gilgoff revealed, “In a departure from previous presidents, his public rallies are opening with invocations that have been commissioned and vetted by the White House.”

The issue of public prayer is increasingly controversial in an age of religious diversity and increasing secularization. Yet, prayers at government ceremonies and events have been common since the nation’s founding and, until recently, few prayers related to White House events have been controversial. Radical church/state separationists consider these prayers to be improper and perhaps unconstitutional, but this is a hard case to make given the nation’s historic practice.

On the other hand, sign me up as an opponent of any prayer that is vetted by any government official or agency. For reasons having less to do with the Constitution and more to do with the nature of prayer, I cannot imagine that a Christian minister could in good conscience allow the government to edit or approve a prayer.

Gilgoff’s report contains some shocking details:

During Obama’s recent visit to Fort Myers, Fla., to promote his economic stimulus plan, a black Baptist preacher delivered a prayer that carefully avoided mentioning Jesus, lest he offend anyone in the audience. And at Obama’s appearance last week near Phoenix to unveil his mortgage bailout plan, an administrator for the Tohono O’odham Nation delivered the prayer, taking the unusual step of writing it down so he could E-mail it to the White House for vetting. American Indian prayers are typically improvised.

Though invocations have long been commonplace at presidential inaugurations and certain events like graduations or religious services at which presidents are guests, the practice of commissioning and vetting prayers for presidential rallies is unprecedented in modern history, according to religion and politics experts. . . .

Gilgoff also reported the case of Pastor James Bing of Ft. Meyers, Florida. Earlier in his report, Gilgoff described the pastor as delivering “a prayer that carefully avoided mentioning Jesus, lest he offend anyone in the audience.” The pastor self-censored his prayer, explaining: “For some strange reason, the word Jesus is like pouring gasoline on fire for some people in this country . . . . You learn how to work around that.”

I do like that last quotation from the oh-so-timid, eager-to-please pastor: “the word Jesus is like pouring gasoline on fire.” Yes, it is. Yes, He is.