My kids were baptised when they were infants. They used to go to Sunday School but lately, we all stopped going to church until last year when I found Indra on facebook, chatted with him and decided to join the Wind Ensemble. And I've played at EVERY single AVAILABLE service whenever the wind ensemble performed including two services on holy days and in other Methodist churches too such as ordination services and the recent 125th anniversary service at Paya Lebar and soon, at St Andrew's for the service by the National Council of Churches. I have suddenly become "devout" but my wife and kids hardly go to church at all.
My kids were at church this evening, the second Sunday after Whitsunday and the reading was taken from Luke 22. I noticed during the sermon from the musicians' corner that my son seemed to be reading the Bible during the sermon. That was just right. My kids' Bible knowledge is somewhat elementary and a reading of the Holy Bible can't possibly do my son any harm. Or so I thought. My daughter, on the other hand, was reading a novel. I had to have a word with her later.
After service, we went for dinner. I had a window seat (it always makes my day when I get a window seat in any restaurant - I know I sound like an animal in captivity) and I took a pic through the window and since this is primarily a picture blog, here's the pic (it's badly taken because of the reflection from the glass):
I then got my favourite soft-shelled crab in black pepper sauce (here's another pic):
I thought it was time to talk to my daughter. I told her that I saw her reading a novel during sermon. That's not appropriate, I said. She replied that she saw me reading a book too. But I did it surreptitiously whereas she was reading her novel rather openly. I told her to read the Bible next time if she was bored just as my son did.
Immediately, my son replied that he did not only read Luke 22 but the corresponding reports of the Last Supper in the other 3 Gospels. He said he was amused that the pastor claimed in the sermon that scholars have suggested that Jesus served 4 separate cups. He said that was because the accounts in all four gospels were so contradictory that the only way out was to pretend that there were 4 separate cups served by Jesus. Even then, it was impossible to reconcile the contradictions even if you had 4 separate cups and he went into the details of the contradictions. I interrupted him and asked if the "apparent contradictions" could very well have been only the result of different styles of reporting by four different people. He explained to me why that was impossible by going into minute details which I really didn't have time for. It's amazing, he said, how anyone could read the 4 different versions and not come to the only possible conclusion that at least 3 of the evangelists had to be wrong. The church was foolish, he continued. It should have chosen only one gospel and banned the other three. That way, you won't have silly contradictions and inconsistencies.
I told him that we should just look at Luke 22 as the passover feast that Jesus had with his disciples and this harks back to the Passover of Exodus. Forget the details but just remember that Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
But, said my son, the Last Supper was only a Passover feast according to the first 3 Gospels.
I told him, showing off my knowledge, that they were called the Synoptic Gospels.
In John's Gospel, he continued, ignoring me, the Passover feast was only to be eaten after Jesus' crucifixion.
Who says that? I demanded.
John himself, he replied. They were hurrying with the crucifixion because they had to eat the Passover feast that evening. Which means, John was either wrong and the feast Jesus had with his disciples was the Passover feast or the first three evangelists were wrong and the Last Supper could not have been the Passover feast. But of course the church can always pretend that there were two different nights on which one could eat the Passover feast but the Jews aren't going to give in on that one.
Next time, I told him, just read a novel like your sister! And I continued eating my soft-shelled crab with relish. Do I look like I care if the Last Supper was a Passover Feast and if the Synoptic gospels were right and John wrong or John right and the other three wrong? The less one thinks of these things, the better one's faith becomes. "Thou shalt not think" would have been a useful commandment.