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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Betrayed and Broken

There are two phrases that are associated with this day that are worth pondering. The first is this: On the night when Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is broken for you." What strikes me most about this phrase is that he gave us his broken body at the precise moment when humanity was at its most broken place. On the night when Jesus was one of his closest friends. Betrayed, by one of his most "sincere" followers. Betrayed, by someone sharing the meal with him and the others around that sacred table. I don't know about you, but when someone has injured me, or I could somehow anticipate that someone is going to injure me, I can tell you that it doesn't motivate me to draw near to them with warm, forgiving and loving actions. And yet, this is exactly what Jesus does. He takes on their brokenness and pours out grace at precisely the same moment when they reveal how untrustworthy they really are. I am reminded of Paul's words in his letter to the Romans, (chapter 5, verse 8) while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Not while we are Godly and good, but while we are sinners does Christ die for us. Jesus poured out his love for us in the most incredible and tangible way on the night of the Last Supper while gathered around a table with friends who he knew would deny him, fall away from him, disappoint him, and yes, even betray him.
Today the celebrated events of the Easter weekend begin. Christians all over the world will gather in one way or another and share in the Lord's supper together. It is staggering for me to think that we are afforded the opportunity to partake in the same meal that Jesus shared with his disciples over 2,000 years ago and reap the same benefits as they did. For do we not also betray Jesus from time to time? Is not His love for us offered unconditionally no matter what it is we are up to?
Which brings me to the second phrase that I think is worth pondering on this day. Jesus says to his disciples, after he blessed the bread and the cup, "Do this in remembrance of me." I believe that brokenness and remembrance are linked together. In the taking of the Lord's supper, we are reminded that his body was broken for us. We are confronted with our own brokenness and reminded that through Christ's brokenness we are made whole. The blood that he shed is the conduit through which grace can now freely flow into our lives. Jesus wants us to keep practicing the Lord's Supper long after his death and resurrection because each time that we do, we proclaim the forgiveness and the wholeness that is ours because of his death.
Today, on Maundy Thursday, the day that we commemorate the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples, we are reminded that the body of Christ was broken and the blood of Christ was shed for us, that we might know the forgiveness of sin and the wholeness of a life that has once known brokenness but is now restored and redeemed.
I am compelled by these realities to let go of the betrayals I have felt over the past year. I have been disappointed by certain relationships that I thought were more trustworthy than they actually are. I have been disappointed by a lack of honesty with certain people that led to deep hurt and misunderstandings. I have felt terribly misrepresented at times. All of this has stirred feelings of revenge and yet today, when I consider that, ON THE NIGHT THAT HE WAS BETRAYED, Jesus took the bread, broke it and said, "This is my body, broken for you. May my brokenness lead to your brokenness being healed." I feel compelled to forgive my betrayers as well.
Finally, today, on Maundy Thursday, I am remembering the gatherings we shared with our Pakistani friends from Immanuel in their warm and hospitable home. People are gathered to partake in this special time and I am missing being among them. I am thankful that our faith knits our hearts together through the power of the Holy Spirit, but I do long for their earthly presence in my life. 
Broken and Betrayed. I've been both of these things. But so has Jesus. And Jesus makes redemption and wholeness possible. Thanks be to God.