Holy Week 2011 – Wednesday

The texts assigned in the Revised Common Lectionary for Wednesday of Holy Week are Isaiah 50:4-9a (Servant’s humiliation and vindication), Psalm 70 (may all who search for you be filled with joy), Hebrews 12:1-3 (let us fix our eyes on Jesus), and John 13:21-32 (Jesus fortells his betrayal).

John 13:21-30 (NLT):

Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!”

The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. So Judas left at once, going out into the night.

How awkward that last supper must have been?!? Can you imagine the bizarre, stupefying events that must have left the disciples feeling like they had the wind knocked out of them? First instead of the traditional Passover they get the orders for a new covenant, a new meal, a new way of doing things like they’ve never been done before. Then the leader takes the towel and basin and washes the smelly, sweaty, animal-feces-stained feet of the no-name, reject followers he had called out of their lame lives. Then he starts talking about betrayal and accuses Peter of denial. If I were a disciple that had walked with Jesus, seen miracles, healings, dead people get out of tombs, this supposed-Passover celebration would have been the icing on the cake! I would have been left dumbfounded. Nothing was what you thought it was going to be.

Even more dumbfounding for us who see the story unfold 2000 years later is the fact that the betrayer was present at the table. Jesus was putting the whole “love your enemies” thing into practical application right there at the table. Jesus didn’t kick Judas out. He didn’t deny him entry to the table fellowship that night. He didn’t take away his “disciple card.” He welcomed him, supped with him, and included him – just like Jesus does with everyone. Just like Jesus does with us every time betrayal enters our hearts. When we turn our backs on God, when we forget he exists, when we scream our discontented situations at him – he welcomes us at the table. Always.

Prayer for Wednesday of Holy week (from the Book of Common Prayer):

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the suffering of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ you Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wounded Eucharistic Prayer

From FreshWorship.org:

lift up your hearts
we lift them up to god
lift up your heads
we lift them up to god
lift up your voices
we lift them up to god
lift up your hearts
we lift them up to god

we praise you for your unswerving love for us
though we are fragile
though we are wounded
though we are broken
you have never stopped loving us
and you have never forsaken us

greater love has no one than this that they lay down their life for their friends

you take what is broken and transform it through your death and love
what once was hurt
what once was friction
what left a mark
no longer stings
because grace makes beauty
out of ugly things

so we join with the angels singing
holy holy holy
holy holy holy
lord god almighty
lord god almighty
heaven and earth are full of your glory
heaven and earth are full of your glory
hosanna in the highest
hosanna in the highest

in your last meal with your friends
before your betrayal
you took the bread and gave thanks
you broket is and shared it saying ‘take and eat. this is my body broken for you’

christ’s body is broken
we are christ’s body, we are broken
may christ’s broken body nourish you in all the right places

you took the cup of wine, gave thanks and shared it saying
‘drink this, my blood shed for you’

christ’s body is wounded
we are christ’s body, we are wounded
may the blood that flowed from christ’s wounds heal you in all the right places

send your holy spirit on us
heal our brokenness
by showing us our place in your community of faith
great is the mystery of faith
christ has died
christ is risen
christ will come again

this is the table of christ
today it is literally made of our brokenness
a sign that christ welcomes us all as we are
there is no need to pretend and no need to hide

so gather at this table
not because you are whole
but because you recognise your need for healing
not because you are good enough
but because you recognise these gifts of god

Breathing Prayer

From Jonny Baker

Breathe in the breath of God

Breathe out your cares and concerns

Breathe in the love of God

Breathe out your doubts and despairs

Breathe in the life of God

Breathe out your fears and frustrations

We sit quietly before the One who gives life and love to all creation,

We sit in awe of the One who formed us in our mother’s wombs

We sit at peace surrounded by the One who fills every fibre of our being

Breathe in the breath of God

Breathe out your tensions and turmoil

Breathe in the love of God

Breathe out your haste and hurry

Breathe in the life of God

Breathe out your work and worry

We sit quietly before the One who gives life and love to all creation,

We sit in awe of the One who formed us in our mother’s wombs

We sit at peace surrounded by the One who fills every fibre of our being