Grace and Peace to you.
While they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” … He took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
— Matthew 26.21, 27-28
We know where this story is going, and so does Jesus. The powers are already seeking his life. Judas has already snapped in place the last piece of his trap. Jesus will face injustice, brutality and evil. Even his friends will abandon him. And yet in the face of all this he offers extraordinary kindness. Knowing full well his friends will turn on him, he shares a meal with them, placing the one who who will betray him in the seat of honor at his side. He says his blood that will be spilled is a sign not of our guilt, but of our forgiveness. Even to his tormentors he will extend grace and gentleness.
Jesus’ response to evil is love. This is the fulfillment of his teaching of nonviolence. Watch in this Holy Week how Jesus embodies the steadfast kindness of God. Even to our deepest evil, God responds with gentleness and love.
As you witness this grace, confess your sin, and be honest with God about your hurtful ways and your complicity in the suffering of others—not to take on guilt, but to open yourself to forgiveness. Take your place at the table with him, among his Beloved who are forgiven. Eat and drink deeply of God’s grace and mercy. Pray that you may faithfully follow Jesus and take up your cross: that you may receive Christ’s spirit of compassion, and the courage God gives us to be gentle and loving even in the face of people’s fear, anger and violence. Go with Jesus into this rough world, bearing in your heart God’s extraordinary kindness to all people.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes