A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Wednesday in Holy Week

Readings: Is 50: 4-9a, Ps70, Heb 12:1-3, Jn 13:21-32

                 On this Wednesday, Judas Iscariot has conspired with the Sanhedrin to support their efforts to trap Jesus. He is paid the sum of 30 pieces of silver, enough to purchase a slave or a good potter's field. How much money is enough to sell someone's life to an enemy - what if the seller is a trusted friend? But of course, Jesus knew it would be Judas...
                Paul's letter to the Hebrews says: Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. When I have felt the world is against me or life is just too hard or I just cannot cope with one more thing to go wrong - did I ever once think of the suffering of Jesus at the hands of others? Have I ever thought of Judas if I did someone a wrong turn to benefit myself, even if only in a small way?  Perhaps Jesus is too big in my mind to compare myself to and perhaps Judas is too bad...  
            On this Wednesday in our time some churches mark this evening - or some others will on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday - with a service called "Tenebrae."  The name comes from the Latin and means shadows or darkness.  The service consists of readings and chanted/sung Psalms while candles are extinguished in sets between readings and chants until the church is completely darkened. Often at the end, in the dark, a sudden loud noise - a gong, slamming a large book, or stamping of feet - is heard as a symbol of the earthquake that signaled the death of Jesus. Holy Wednesday in Holy Week, hearkens back to the penitence of Ash Wednesday just a few weeks ago while the solemnity of the mood deepens.

O Jesus ~ our Ever-Present Light in the Darkness,
         Whether we are in a church, at home, or somewhere else, if we are taking this time to follow Your Passion through this week, we feel the gathering gloom of death approaching. This night of Tenebrae, as the light will fade into dark, all will be still in our hearts. In Your time, You could hear the barking of the dogs across the Kidron Valley as the evening turned to night, along with the growling of camels, and the hee-hawing of donkeys. In our time we hear the traffic going by, tv blaring, and the electronic buzz, clink and chinkle of video games. 
         O Jesus, our Light and Redeemer of us ALL ~ this night reminds us of the story of Judas conspiring with the Sanhedrin and selling you out. This night makes us wonder how he could have done that to You. This night makes us shudder about ways we might have betrayed another for our own benefit even if only in lesser ways. This night calls us to ponder forgiveness  ~ You have forgiven us for all of our sins and trespasses. But have we ever forgiven Judas, the only Apostle never called "saint", the only original Disciple to have died a remorseful death at his own hand, the only one Satan entered to do the bidding that fulfilled the prophecy of our coming Messiah?  Who is a Judas in our own lives that we have not forgiven? Can we take a first step, this night, and breathe the life of forgiveness into Judas Iscariot? Certainly Jesus has. Then, with Your love and help, perhaps we can look at forgiving the Judas closer to home.  amen.

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