We press deeper into Holy Week, and the momentum grows. There is no stopping the events that will unfold from here. But lest we rush toward what lies ahead, a table calls to us.
Here at the table, Jesus stops. He will not be hurried. He will not be rushed, even as events draw him closer to his death. The table provides time to linger and to speak of what matters most. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another,” Jesus tells them at the table. “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Again and again at this table, Jesus speaks of love. By the time he comes to the end of what is called his “Farewell Discourse” (John 14–17), he will have spoken the word love thirty-one times. He wants to be sure the disciples get it. He wants to be certain they understand why he came in the first place and what he needs them to do after he leaves.
In the washing of feet, in the breaking of bread, in each breath, in every word down to the final sentence of his final prayer for them: love. Of all that he says and does at the table, love is what he most wants them to know.
On this day, Jesus gathers us into the circle of his beloveds. What he tells his companions, he tells us. What he wants them to know, he wants us to know.
As we linger with Jesus at the table, how will we receive this love? Where will we let it lead us?
On this day, in this circle, may we open our hearts toward the One who meets us in love.
This week’s readings take us through the depths but then into the eternal light. We walk each step with Jesus, who suffers betrayal, abandonment, and death in our place. But it is more than that. He also enters into the brokenness of our human condition and feels our pain, such that on the cross he even feels abandonment by God. He walks through the valley of the shadow of death because of God’s amazing, reckless love for us. This is the power of Holy Week. But that is not the end of the story. Jesus’ steps do not end at the cross, for he walks out of the tomb! Now we can follow in his steps and participate in his new life. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
• Read Psalm 70. What help do you need from God? from others?
• Read Isaiah 42:1-9. Where do you see signs of God’s work in the arena of justice? Where does Creation provide signs of restoration?
• Read John 12:20-36. As you ponder the reign of God in your midst, what images call to your mind God’s presence?
• Read John 20:1-18. When have you, in love, released the life expected in order to take up the life God intends for you?
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