Maundy Thursday, March 28, 2013
Morning Psalm: 102 | Evening Psalms: 142, 143
Jeremiah 20:7-11 | 1 Corinthians 10:14-17, 11:27-32 | John 17:1-26
Jesus tonight will leave the supper in the upper room for Gethsemene. There he will cry out to His Father from the prayer book of Israel, the Psalter, the language of His own heart’s prayer;
“Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress..” (Ps 102)
“You are my refuge...(my) deliverer...(when) my spirit faints...” (Ps 142)
“Hide not your face from me lest I be like those who go down to the pit...”
From Jeremiah we have the image of God as the “dread warrior” who stands over Jesus even while He prays in His distress, reminding us of what is to come. We are assured that “my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten” (Jer 20:11).
Then the lessons turn to us, the Church, with our own distress and sorrows, to remember with every Eucharist exactly what we are doing “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16).
There is no sorrow, no loss, no betrayal or fear that Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, has not endured on our behalf. He has drunk the cup already to the last bitter dregs. Now the cup we are offered has been sweetened by what He has accomplished, the gall of death has been removed. We could never have borne that bitter cup, one sip would have destroyed us. He, who condescended in love to take upon Himself the helpless reality of our humanity, has taken up the bitter cup and drunk it to the last. He has taken within himself the rancid and deadly consequence of our rebellion. By doing so, He has neutralized its power for all time over those who cling to Him.
Jesus has consecrated himself in suffering and death precisely for this very purpose; “that [we] also may be sanctified in truth” (John 17:19). That through His blood, we might live the life that is Life indeed.
Savior, thank you that You have not left me to fend for myself, let me hide myself in Your side, trusting in the work that You have accomplished and continue to extend on my behalf. I take the bread, Your body, I drink the cup, Your blood, and I give You thanks that You have vanquished my enemy and lift me up as Your own, in victory and love.
The Rev. Dr. Martha Giltinan (DMin 2012)
Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology
Trinity School for Ministry
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