“Who’s doing the haroset? These apples should’ve been chopped by now!”
“Judith, where’s the rest of the matzah?” The tantalizing aroma of perfectly prepared lamb fills the crowded room. Noisy conversation buzzes all around. To paraphrase the youngest child, this night is different from every other Passover I’ve ever prepared. I’m standing in the doorway of the upper room, watching Jesus. It’s difficult to pay attention, because I’m so distracted. I wish I had another three servers, but things are going fairly smoothly. The mood at table is a bit more serious than I’d expect. Jesus’ face looks aglow, passionate, and somber at the same time. Suddenly Jesus looks at me. Oh! That look goes straight to my heart, even though I know he looks at everyone that way. It immediately moves me to want to serve the tables a little better. “Girls! Get those wine flasks ready. It’s time for the fourth pour.” Then I notice little Esther squatting in the corner. That girl. We have so much work to do! But her eyes are glued on Jesus, and I can tell she can hear what I cannot. Oh, to have young ears again! I leave her alone and scurry to see the last course served.
I miss something important while in the kitchen. John is leaning on Jesus. Judas is heading for the door. What just happened? I hear my name called over my shoulder. One of my girls needs help. When things settle down, I return to my post. Jesus looks at me, and with a barely perceptible tilt of his head, I know he wants me at his side. “Yes, dear? What do you need?” He gives me a close-lipped smile and reaches for my hand. And with his other hand, he puts a scrap of bread in my palm. “Remember,” is all he says.
Remember. Again I feel my heart leap, as his presence touches my palm. I move the bread to my lips and walk slowly back to my station. For some reason tears sting my eyes. I notice the aroma of wine hanging in the air. “Esther, go over to Jesus,” I whisper to the girl, who is frightened that I’ve discovered her hiding place. I watch as he gives her a morsel too. She looks transfixed. I shake my head in amazement and motion to our serving staff to queue up and go to Jesus. Is he reaching for the Elijah cup? I step into the kitchen to organize clean-up. So much to do for this elaborate feast! And now the men stand and head to the door. They’re off to their favorite place, I’m sure. The room is emptying out quickly. I walk over to the place where Jesus sat. The rest of our crew comes to the empty table too. “Wash these dishes carefully,” I tell them. “Something worth remembering happened here tonight. I don’t quite know what, but…” “He filled me with peace!” one server says. “I heard him say not to be troubled—by anything,” says another. “I’ll never forget tonight,” says a third. I sit down in Jesus’ empty place. “Rest a minute, girls,” I say. They join me around the table. “What did you hear?” I ask Esther. She speaks in a soft voice Jesus’ invitation to all of us: “Remember.”