Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” They became distressed, and said to him and to one another, “Surely not I?” - Matthew 26:22
I wish I didn’t relate to this scripture, but of course I do.
I know too well the reflexive need to distance myself from ugly facts. An awful truth is laid out, and I must convince myself and anyone who might be wondering that it has nothing to do with me.
Do you feel this impulse? Something is terribly wrong and your first thought is to let yourself off the hook? To say, “Well, that sucks, but it’s not me.”
Every time some vile crime is publicized, there’s a hashtag:
Surely, not I, Lord?
We inherit Christ’s story 2000 years after he walked the earth, but we know he’s being betrayed in our time as surely as he was back then. Jesus came to love and heal the world, but there’s a lot of greed and violence going on.
And let’s just be real: Our great calling as God’s beloved is decidedly NOT to look at the problems throughout the world, and say, “but it’s not me.”
Sometimes, we’re directly, specifically the perpetrators of crimes, like Judas, who literally sold Jesus out. Most of the time though, we’re caught in a web of injustice, and we do less than we could to right what is wrong all around us, just like the 11 disciples who bailed on Jesus when the going got rough.
In our time:
Cities full of children are being poisoned, when politicians cut costs and let lead contaminate the water.
Generations of black and brown boys are being groomed for prison and social isolation by a culture of fear and a dysfunctional criminal justice system.
Funding is being cut for early childhood education, and organizations that support victims of child abuse, sexual violence, and the comprehensive legacies of racism and poverty, while budget dollars are redirected to build weapons of war.
A culture of suspicion and vitriol pits neighbors against one another in silos of self-righteous ignorance throughout our land.
The list goes on and on, and in all these things, Christ is betrayed.
It’s understandable that we would want to distance ourselves from the harsh facts of our life together, but a Christ-centered response is to ask two questions: ‘How do I contribute to these problems, either by my actions or my inaction?’ And, ‘How would Christ have me live, in light of the tragic realities that betray him?’
When the disciples said, ‘Surely not I Lord?’. Jesus responded, ‘The one who dips his hand in the bowl with me will betray me.’
Because, of course, they all had dipped their bread in that bowl. They were sharing a meal, and they were all a part of it.
And therein lies the truth of our lives, as well. None of us can look at the troubles of the world, the trauma, the sin, the abuse, the suffering, and say, ‘That has nothing to do with me.’
All of it has everything to do with all of us.
Because we all have a part to play in the God’s redemption of the world.
Holy Week Worship:
4.13 Maundy Thursday, 6:30pm
4.14 Good Friday, 6:30pm
4.16 Easter Sunday, 10:10am
102 E. 2nd Street, Davenport Iowa
The Table is a Christian Church in Davenport, pursuing transformation:
from greed toward generosity
from violence toward peacemaking
from isolation toward neighborliness
from fear toward faith