The stone room echoed with the sound of blood draining into a bucket.

A second bucket sat off to the side, already full. From the ceiling, a man‟s body was strung, its feet bound with rope, its arms hanging and wrists slit. A dozen other men watched as the last drops of blood emptied into the bucket. One held a hack saw. “Get it down.” The command was followed. The bucket was moved to the side. Three of the men held the body, while another stood on a chair and cut the rope. Straining under the dead weight, they carried the body to a table in the middle of the room where the others sat. The table was prepared with knives, platters, and patterned ceremonial cups. The man with the saw stood, and they all bowed their heads. “Father, you provide without fail, and we thank you for your provision this day. We ask that you bless this meal as we partake in your name.” Together, they concluded with “Amen.” Lifting their heads, the man grabbed an arm of the body laid out on the table and positioned the saw at the shoulder. His grip firm, he pulled the saw back, making the first cut. Each cut through the cold flesh was clean, with no blood left to spill. Sawing through the bone took some time, but the others sat watching, patient, and silent. They continued to sit in silence as the man severed each limb, setting it aside and moving on to the next. With the final cut, the man placed his saw at the foot of the table and took his seat. With the arms and legs out of the way, each one at the table took a knife and carved off portions of the torso. The head was left untouched. And they ate. Again, they bowed their heads. Again, the one man spoke: “Our Father, you have provided, and we are ever-grateful. We ask now that you bless the blood of this offering, as we continue to partake in your name. This blood, we live for. This blood, we live by. Lord, be with us.” And, altogether: “Amen.” He got up and carried the two buckets from the far wall to the table, setting them on either side of what remained of the body – mostly bones and fat, along with the legs,

arms, and head. The blood had thickened, and the copper scent mixed with the stench of flesh to permeate the room. Careful not to spill any, he poured out the blood from one bucket into each of the cups on the far side of the table. Then, the blood in the other bucket he poured out for the rest on the other side. With the blood served, the man returned to his seat. Each of them took their cup. And they drank.

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“What you do, you do because I allow it.” Jesus spoke to Judas. “You have only the power my Father has given you.” “Surely my Lord, I will never betray you.” Silence. The eleven other men at the table said nothing. Judas said nothing more. After a moment, Jesus turned to Peter. “They will hate you.” Looking around at them all, he said, “They will hate all of you. What has been done here, and what has yet to be done – they won‟t understand. I give you my body, but the world will say, „These men of God eat the flesh of a man.‟ I give you my blood, but the world will say, „These men who call themselves Jews drink the blood of a man.‟ The world hates me, and, because of me, they will hate you. But have faith, even to death, for, in death, I give you life. The world has no power. What it has, my Father has given it, and my Father will take it away.” Turning back to Judas, Jesus added, “And, the one to whom power is given to hand over my body – I see him cursed and his body decayed.” Judas took a breath. The air was putrid. The bag of silver on his thigh seemed to get heavier. Jesus stood, and the other eleven followed. And they sang.

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