A Holy Week Musing on Sharing Meals
One of the difficulties with Holy Week is there are so many topics to cover. Jesus and his disciples had a busy week. There was a temple to clean out, feet to wash, a sermon to deliver, and a Passover meal to plan - not to mention a betrayal by a friend, an arrest under cover of darkness, a kangaroo court trial, his conviction, and capital punishment. All of this leads to a quiet Saturday and then the glory of Easter and the resurrection.
It was a busy week, and I'm not even getting into the details of it all. Obviously, so much has been written and said about this one week that it could fill the Library of Congress.
So, I will be honest I struggled with what to focus on in this week's post. Frankly, my brainstorming list will probably be longer than this post!
Now I would love to tell you that what gave me my final piece of inspiration was sitting quietly and reflecting, perhaps while watching a sunset or sunrise. It was not. Instead, it was a TV news show or at least what we call these things in this day and age. (As an aside, I really miss Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw and the nightly news!)
Anyway, on this show, several folks were talking about a number of issues of our day. I will not list them. You all know many of them already. The discussion was really not a discussion. It was actually a lot of yelling between grown adults dressed in nice suits and fancy dresses.
As I watched them, one of my first thoughts was that my elementary school students, even when arguing on the playground, listen to each other better than these grown-ups.
The more I watched, the more irritated I became, and finally, even though I was the only person in the room, and these folks were hundreds of miles away in some studio, I ended up yelling at the TV. I clearly asked them to stop yelling and to listen to each other. They did not.
What threw me over the edge was two people yelling at each other that they should leave the country if they did not change their minds and agree with the other person's point of view. It was anything but civil discourse; frankly, it sounded like civil war.
Now part of me realizes that these two folks and the others on the set are simply trying to get ratings. I am sure they wanted to get a reaction out of their audience, which worked for me. Now I have no idea how serious these folks were about their viewpoints and comments about who should and should not live in America. Who knows, perhaps they left the set and went out for drinks. But the truth is much of our discourse today involves us avoiding those we disagree with. And many of us avoid folks who are "unlike us." And tragically, this fear of difference has led to discrimination and violence.
Such fear is the story of Holy Week and the crucifixion of Jesus.
Yet on the very night of his betrayal, Jesus shows us another way. Knowing Judas was to betray him, Jesus shares a meal, and not only that, he washes Judas's feet. He does not send him or Peter, who would grab the sword in anger and then deny knowing Jesus, or Thomas, who would doubt, or any of the others who were with him away. Jesus invites them - even in their sinfulness, even in their brokenness, and even though they sometimes disagreed with each other and with him to the Last Supper. And he invites all of us as well, even though we all are far from worthy.
Perhaps, if he can do that, even with the one who would hand him over to be persecuted because he disagreed with his idea of the Kingdom of God - well then perhaps, you and I - and all of those who call themselves Christians can at least share a meal and be kind - even when we disagree. Because if I understand the scriptures, we are not called to always agree, but we are called to always love.
Have a blessed Holy Week.