Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thanks and Bread and Betrayal {Lent day #45}


So, this is one of the pieces of artwork I got to see while slowly strolling through the Boston Museum of Fine Arts last week.  I think the religious artwork is partly why I'm drawn to the European Art section.  Some of them are sort of ridiculous and based on unlikely legend, but some of them are so moving.  I did get tickled over the ones depicting the incarnation or the crucifixion that also included St. Jerome.  He would always be peeking around the scene ~ from behind Mary as she held the baby Jesus or standing near the Cross itself. So funny.

I loved this sculpture of the Last Supper.  It appears to be such a lively scene, which it probably was for a while.  But it also made me think of the darkness of the coming betrayal and the giving of thanks that Jesus gives in the face of that betrayal

...that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
I Corinthians 11: 23, 24

When I read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, I learned that in Greek the phrase "He had given thanks" or "He gave thanks"  in that verse is "eucharisteo."
When I finished the book last year, I made this banner for Easter as a reminder of what Jesus did.  The premise of Ann's book is that there is always reason to give thanks, and that in doing so miracles happen ~ especially miracles of transformation in our way of seeing and therefore in our experiencing of joy.

I spoke to a group of women over the weekend on the topic of sanctification.  We looked at the life of an Old Testament woman ~ the Shunammite woman of 2 Kings.  She sets a really high standard in her godly responses to the trials of life.  I tried to encourage them (and myself) by reminding them that Jesus also went through this process...

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.  Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered...
Hebrews 5: 7-8

Therefore He had to be make like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of people.  For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
Hebrews 2: 17-18

I read the stories of the Exodus Passover and Jesus' last Passover with His disciples to my Challenge students this week. I heard a few groans and saw a few rolled eyes over the betrayal by Judas.  What a wretched, evil guy Judas was, seemed to be the thinking.  And it's true, but ALL of the disciples betrayed and denied Jesus that night ~ and so have all of us.

I have felt the sting of betrayal in recent years ~ big and small betrayals ~ by those close and not so close.  One of the close ones reached out for a helping hand recently. My first response?  Incredulity. How could they possibly have the audacity to ask a favor in light of all they've done to me?  All they've taken from me? How can they act as if  there's nothing between us?

Good thing the One I've betrayed doesn't allow those same realities to keep Him from giving generously when I ask for help.  Thankfully, He is not incredulous when the former traitor comes to Him with pleas of rescue and comfort.

No.  He sympathizes with the pain of my experience with betrayal, because He's been there ~ experienced  the betrayal of His closest friends over 2000 years ago tonight.  And then ~ amazingly ~ He doesn't hold my sin of betrayal against me, but credits me with His own righteousness.

May this truth overwhelm me as it should, Lord ~ during this weekend of celebrating Your betrayal on my behalf, and every day.

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