Luke 22:14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22 For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” 23 Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this. 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 “You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Here we have people gathered for a meal exhibiting uneasiness about the order of seating at the table, a suspicion of betrayal, and intervention from a peacemaker. This is the story of many, many communities. We all wish to be part of a community that offers love and acceptance, and are troubled by the suspicions and betrayals – both received and given.
Human life is an annoying mixture of loyalty and betrayal; of deep passion and petty bickering. The one overriding assurance is of a God who sacrifices his own essential love to benefit humanity – despite our failure and fragility. When we are faced with suspicion and betrayal, we can do nothing less than offer the same God-modelled response.
He comes to save us now:
To serve him is to know
Life’s true reward.
May he our lives amend,
All our betrayals end:
Give me your hand, my friend:
JESUS IS LORD!
Fred Pratt Green
42 The Kingdom Comes
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 261.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.