The Way Home

“He took some bread, gave thanks to God for it.  Broke it in pieces and gave it to his disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this to remember me.”  After supper he took a cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people-an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.  But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me.  For it has been decided that the Son of Man must die.  But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.”  The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.  Then they began to argue among themselves who would be the greatest among them.  Jesus told them.  “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called friends of the people.  But among you it will be different.  Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.  Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves?  The one who sits at the table of course.  But not here!  For I am among you as one who serves.  You have stayed with me in my time of trial.  And just as my Father has granted me a kingdom, I now grant you the right to eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.  And you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  Luke 22:19-30

These verses that lead us into Holy week cause me to pause.  We see the weakness in the disciples and also the magnitude of what Jesus accomplished through his sacrifice.  Jesus, shares with his disciples the new covenant between God and his people.  The sacrament of Holy Communion and the forgiveness of sins, through his broken body and his shed blood.

Jesus speaks of his betrayal by one of the twelve.  This sparks a debate over who would do such a thing.  Also, the greatest event in human history is about to take place and they are arguing about who should be the greatest among them.  In these verses Jesus also predicts Peter’s denial.  “Peter, let me tell you something.  Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you know me.”  Luke 22:34  He tells Peter he has been pleading in prayer with his heavenly Father, that Peter repent and his faith be strengthened, so in turn he can strengthen his brothers and sisters.  Of course Peter denies the denial.

As we read these verses we get a startling glimpse of our human condition.  Our personal relationship with Jesus is mirrored in the history of these disciples.  They initially realize their desperate condition, their need and pledge their loyalty to Christ.  They follow him, even work for him but, they are far from being like him.  They know Jesus as their Lord and master but, at this time they do not know him as their life.  It is only through the blessed gift of his Holy Spirit within them and his boundless endless grace; they begin to have true union with Christ.

Thank you Jesus, that even when I am at my weakest, the glorious mystery of your Spirit is still there waiting for me to return to you.  May my eyes be taken off of myself and centered more and more, on you each day.  Help me to recognize that whatever comes into my world is a gift from you, all of it, the pain, and the loss, along with the happy and good times.  That I share in this gift of a common humanity with all.  May my eyes see it as the power of love and hope that it is.   Amen

Lois Autterson


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