Holy Wednesday, March 28
Scripture: Mark 14:17-31
Isn’t it remarkable that the people gathered with Jesus at the table are the very ones that would one day betray and desert him? During what would become known as the “last supper,” Jesus announces that one of those gathered around the table will betray him.
The disciples are so sure that they are not, and never will be, betrayers and deserters. Of course, they are! They have walked with Jesus for a long time, through crowds, and miracles, and accusations. Yet, Judas will betray Jesus. Peter will indeed deny Jesus, more than once. The disciples will fall away, lost after Jesus’ death.
After his bold declaration, Jesus takes a loaf of bread, blesses it and breaks it, gives it to his disciples and simply says, “This is my body. Take and eat.” With this act, Jesus lets the disciples, deniers and betrayers, know that they are still loved and welcome to sit at the table with him. He does the same with a cup of wine, reminding the disciples that his blood will be shed for “many.”
The “many” include betrayers, deniers, those that fall away and forget Jesus. The acts of that evening reach out through the centuries and touch us today. We are the “many.” We are at one time or another the betrayers, deniers, the ones that fall away. But Jesus doesn’t let us go. On that night that he was betrayed he welcomed to the table the very one that would betray him. He welcomed and ate with the disciples that would deny him and would walk away after the crucifixion. He welcomed to the table his friends, just as he did throughout his ministry. He welcomed people that many believed to be unclean or not good enough.
Many times, I have felt like the disciples crying out: “Surely, not I?” I haven’t betrayed or denied you Jesus? Have I? Maybe not in a big, Judas kind of way, but in other smaller, subtler ways.
Have I failed to “love my neighbor as myself”? Have I at some point or another given up on church? Have I closed my heart and mind to the Spirit’s promptings trying to move me closer to God? Yes, yes, and yes! “Surely, not I?” becomes “yes, Lord, even me.”
But every week, I come to the table. I come to remind myself that Jesus gave his life for me, for us, that we may have life and have it abundantly. I come to the table despite my shortcomings, knowing that I am welcome. I come to the table seeking forgiveness and renewal.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) makes the celebration of the Lord’s Supper a central part of worship because of the many ways that we meet Jesus at the table.
We are the “many” that seek forgiveness and reconciliation with Christ and with each other. Come to the table. There is room enough for all!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for welcoming me to your table. Forgive the many times and ways I have denied you. Help me to make your welcoming love known to all.
– Miriam Gentle