Special Guest at The Last Supper. For ikon event in May 2008. By Stephen Caswell.
Ikon hosts an event called The Last Supper. We invite a guest to share dinner with us; someone with perhaps a controversial or interesting set of beliefs or a view of the world that is different to our own. Over the starter our guest makes a presentation of their ‘thesis’ (as it were) – what they believe and why – and, as we move into the main course, the evening opens up to questions and discussion.
A couple of years ago we were blessed with a guest of great importance; someone who has had a huge impact on the Jewish and Christian faiths. We had to allow more diners than our normal limited dozen such was the demand for seats. Several biblical scholars, a number of local ministers from different denominations, and indeed some local Rabbis joined us for this very special night. For our guest was Moses.
Moses is known to transfigure himself onto earth every once in a while and, for whatever reason, he decided to accept our invitation to this humble provision of food and discussion.
We were a little nervous to have such a prestigious guest, but we didn’t fluff our conversation (like Peter did long ago on that mountain). In fact, the chat was great. Personally, I was enthralled to hear the old prophet’s presentation, and his tales of long ago were truly spell-binding, despite being told through a shy stammer.
But some of our fellow diners had studied the Torah at great length. There were many insights, and many rich perspectives which shed new light on the old words. These ancient texts of Moses (who wouldn’t confirm or deny if he was the sole author) have been wrestled with and scrutinised over many generations by people who love and fear God. And on this night, with well-read experts gathered over a spicy vegetarian dinner, the topics were hot. Let’s just say the knives and forks were brandished as one particular passage was considered. It seemed for a while that the diners had forgotten who was with them! But someone eventually put the contention to Moses: Could you please settle this debate? Which perspective is the correct interpretation? Which one of us is right?
To our bemusement, Moses merrily laughed out loud at the question. ‘I have never considered that!’ he said of the debate we made of his written works.
As the night went on, Moses sat quietly – looking puzzled, if you ask me – but he was happy. By the time we took our coffee and after-dinner mints, he contributed nothing but a wide smile. The night drew to a close and Moses had to go back to heaven to cast his vote in the next round of Worship Idol (kind of like Pop Idol, I think, but perhaps a poor choice of title). As he left he signed our Guest Book and wrote, alongside his thanks, a simple message: “My children have surpassed me.”