The seat of greatest grace

           He said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
           And they began to say to him one after another,
           “Surely not I, Lord?” …
           Then Jesus said to them,
           “You will all become deserters because of me this night.”
           Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you,
           I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.

                           —from Matthew 26.21-35

Jesus, my Friend,
my Beloved, my Person,
I love you, and I will falter.
I will deny you. I will betray you.
Three times ten thousand times
I will deny you.
The silver pieces lie in my pocket.
I have the nails.
And you, knowing, invite me to your table,
to the place of honor even,
this seat of greatest grace,
beside you,
to share your bread with me,
and lay down your body for me.
I can hardly look into the sun
of such forgiveness,
love’s empty tomb
that defeats me,
re-makes me.

I confess. I return.
Knowing, I follow,
drawn in your grace,
this burden that is light.


             While Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
             a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment,
             and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. …
             Jesus said, “She has prepared me for burial.
             Truly I tell you, wherever this good news
             is proclaimed in the whole world,
             what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”          

                           —Matthew 26.6, 12-13

In one long, miserable story of fear and denial,
betrayal, delusion and cruelty,
here is one kind thing
that someone does for Jesus.
It is not much.
But he treasures it.
Don’t underestimate the power of simple kindness.


You need not be the Messiah.
It is enough to bring your simple gifts
and offer them for the sake of the One who Heals Us.
Even God needs healing.


Jesus prepares himself for death.
He is continually pouring himself out,
emptying himself and receiving God,
dying and rising.
The disciples are clinging to survival.
Only this woman understands
and does not cling,
but in her own outpouring
empties herself in love and blessing
for Jesus’ sake.
She, too, is ready.


         Hosanna to the Son of David!
         Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
         Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

                           —Matthew 21.9

“Save us, O God!”
Save us. Not really a shout of praise
but a cry of desperation.

Only you, humble and riding on an ass,
can save us on our war horses.
Only you, pouring yourself out,
can save us from the wounds that swallow us.
Only you, suffering,
can save us, married to our comforts.
Only you, loving and forgiving,
can save us, so well defended.

Save us, O Vulnerable One,
from the fortresses we carry with us.

Give me faith to ride with you,
humble, disarmed, lovingly self-pouring,
with deep trust in your saving.

Blessed is the one who comes
in the peace of God.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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