Mark 14: 12-72
Today is what many Christians refer to as Maundy Thursday. The day we remember the last Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before he was arrested. The day began with the disciples following Jesus' instructions to find a place in which to share the meal and it ends with the tears of Peter after he denies Jesus three times. This day draws our attention to the invitation that Jesus made through the sacred Passover meal, how he broke bread and shared the cup and extended it to his closest friends; even those who would turn their backs on him in very painful ways. We also remember the prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane - how grief-stricken and scared he was (as it is recorded in Mark's Gospel), and how the disciples just couldn't stay awake to sit with him in this moment. Today is also where the story becomes violent and fast-paced.
"Maundy" comes from the Latin word mandatum, meaning "command" or "commandment" - and depicts the new commandment Jesus makes with his disciples at the last meal (as recorded in the Gospel of John) to love one another.
The Psalmist's words in Psalm 56 guide my prayer today.
Be gracious to me, O God, I don't know what to say. My eyes are heavy. I would rather sleep.
Skip over this part of your story.
Be gracious to me, O God. The week is moving too fast. The drama is unfolding. I am panting to catch up. But perhaps I could just stay behind, where I normally like to be, in the comfort of safety and status quo.
Tonight, all over the world, people will gather around a table. We will all ask you to be gracious to us. For we think we would have been different. We are certain we would have stayed through the confusion until the bitter end. Surely we would have understood.
Be gracious to us, God, when we glance over the hard stuff assuming we are more faithful than another.
When the table is set - the wine poured and the bread broken - when people of all walks of life are gathered round….be gracious to us.
For still, we wish to have the final say. We just can't handle your mercy, your grace, your humility, given for all.
O God, be gracious to me. When the sun sets and the night brings a chill. When I don't know what to say. You tell me to "keep awake" and my eyes are heavy.
O God, be gracious to me. If I weep because I just cannot handle the pressure of knowing you. When the moment comes. When the question is asked. Will I know what to say?
Watch. Wait. Listen. Pray.
Be gracious to us, O God.