Maundy Thursday

Here's what I've been thinking about today.

Jesus feeds his disciples. His disciples are Judas, who betrayed him, and everyone else who abandoned him. I've been thinking about how Jesus must have felt in the presence of people who weren't really for him, at least for about four more days. Gethsemane was clearly a difficult experience for Jesus. Knowing what Judas was up to and what he himself was facing that night and the following day was hard.

I know the last thing I want to do when facing a difficult experience is eat. My hunger pangs are barely distinguishable from the knot of anxiety. Yet, Jesus fed his disciples. He fed them in the tradition of the Passover, reinterpreting it's meaning for them the night before he altered it completely and forever on the cross.

For some reason, my mind has been drifting to Psalm 23. I read it aloud at a funeral I officiated on Saturday and the phrase, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies" jumped out in my mind as I read it. Why on earth does that sentence get in Psalm 23? It seems out of place. I mean, I'm not going to eat with or in front of my enemies. But this afternoon, all I could think of was Jesus, serving a meal to his disciples, one betrayer and 11 abandoners. Not friends, but enemies. The lamb that was slain at Passover was eaten by those who slew it. Those gathered around that table, in need of the true Paschal lamb, devoured what he provided.

And so we'll eat that meal tonight. We will devour the body and blood of the lamb who was slain. Enemies no more, by virtue of the death he will die on Good Friday but initiated at this table before his beloved enemies.