I have often wondered what the disciples felt at the last supper. I think that their primary emotion was fear. They knew that they were being hunted by Herod, and Jesus had been talking for weeks about how he would go to Jerusalem, would be arrested, and would die. Now they were in Jerusalem, sitting together in a nondescript little room, the smell of roasting lamb drifting down wind from the temple sacrifice. I think that when Jesus picked up the bread and the wine, and said that they were his body and his blood, he was telling them that he would never abandon them, that even when he was gone, they could find him in the smallest, most ordinary things in their lives.
At first glance, Brother Lawrence seems to read this scene differently than I do. Placing himself within the upper room, he experiences tranquility, rather than fear. But this is because he’s already learned the lesson that Jesus was trying to teach the disciples. He’s used to finding God in the most ordinary things. Even in a fretful, busy kitchen, he’s tranquil. He has learned the assurance that Jesus offers to the disciples:
As Brother Lawrence had found such an advantage in walking in the presence of God, it was natural for him to recommend it earnestly to others. More strikingly, his example was a stronger inducement than any arguments he could propose. His very countenance was edifying with such a sweet and calm devotion appearing that he could not but affect the beholders. It was observed, that in the greatest hurry of business in the kitchen, he still preserved his recollection and heavenly-mindedness. He was never hasty nor loitering, but did each thing in its season with an even uninterrupted composure and tranquillity of spirit. “The time of business,” said he, “does not with me differ from the time of prayer. In the noise and clutter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Supper.”