Maundy Thursday celebrates the Last Supper of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We remember the event with Messianic Passover meals, with beautiful music, and an image of DiVinci’s painting, circled with a halo. However, in contrast to these images, the event was encompassed with intrigue, betrayal, hidden agendas, and power-grabs.
This week I was deeply involved with a group of my students studying Organizational Politics. The lesson focused on wounded people that strike back, agendas that harm others, and the painful dynamics of “realistic leadership.” That is, dealing with the reality of the situation, no matter how difficult.
Each of the students wrote a short and personal summary of “the most important lesson I learned this week.” I read each student’s answer with great interest. After reading their answers, I wrote the email below, a different take on Maundy Thursday.
After two days sick in bed and all the rest that is happening as we wind down the term here at TNU, I am proud to announce that I have caught up with weekly summaries for WEEK 3 of our class. I read each one carefully and thoughtfully – it was obvious that you wrote with care and thought.
My summary: This has been a week of struggle, conflicting emotions, ah-ha’s, and oh-no’s. Realistic leadership is such a difficult thing. Like you, I prefer the sunshine version of high calling, great character, meaningful values, and significant vision. This is the “stuff” they pay me for when I am out doing the motivational speeches.
However, the challenge is to bring the call, character, values, and vision into the “swampy lowland.” The struggles you feel are real; I feel them also. Last evening I sat with my wife, Shirley, for some time as we remembered and discussed some of the cruel and inexplicable things people of faith have done.
Finally, I could take it no more: I jumped to my feet, turned round to look her in the eye and said, “Yet, I still believe! I believe God is good, His Kingdom is advancing, and somehow, He uses us to bring the message of holy love to a broken world.”
Shirley gave me a “high-five.”
This afternoon, the afternoon of Maundy Thursday when our Lord made His way to the upper room to break the bread and pour the wine, I want to give you a “high-five.”
Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Education
Trevecca Nazarene University
I received a response from the students: “Back at ya.”
Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you…. I tell you the truth that one of you is going to betray me… As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And, it was night” (John 13:15, 21, 30). I encourage you to read John 13 on this Maundy Thursday evening.
Copyright 2011 © Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.