From the Pastor’s Desk:
March 15, 2020
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” I Corinthians 10:16-17
It has a few different names: The Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or the Eucharist. Whatever you call it, sharing the bread and cup is one of the rites we practice that can be traced back to Jesus himself. A lot of the other things we do have long and meaningful traditions to them, but they don’t go back nearly so far in history.
The night before Jesus was crucified, he celebrated a Passover meal with his Disciples. The meal started with Jesus washing his disciples' feet and continued with the unusual way he broke the bread and blessed the cup; it was unlike any Passover celebration any of them had ever experienced.
For me, one of the most beautiful realities of this meal is in the people present. These were Jesus' closest friends: women and men who had traveled with him and learned from him, people like Thomas willing to die with Jesus if necessary - and in that same crowd was also the betrayer, Judas Iscariot.
While it is wonderful that Jesus celebrates this communion with his friends, it says something deep and comforting that Judas was there, too. Judas was included. Judas whose name becomes synonymous with betrayal is present at the Last Supper. He was a partaker of the one loaf and the one cup and is forever a part of the “we who are many are one body.” At that same meal, Jesus even let on that he knew betrayal was coming and that it would be Judas... yet Judas remained and partook of that first communion.
I don’t know how much introspection you do or how comfortable you are with soul searching, but if you do it, even a little bit, there are a lot of days where our thoughts and actions align more with Judas than Jesus. We look out for ourselves. We try to manipulate situations to get our desired outcome, thinking that it is God’s desire, too. We fail to be Jesus in the world when given the opportunity, and when we look close, we look a lot more like Judas.
The comfort comes in knowing that even Judas was included in the meal. Judas was not cast out from the table. Jesus was there just as much for Judas as he was for Peter or John. We all fall short; our own desires betray the desires of Christ. That's part of being human. But we are still invited to the table of fellowship where we can repent, seek forgiveness, and know that it will be given, even to the worst Judas among us.
Forgiven and free,
Don’t forget to check out the “Grace Cubed” podcast wherever you get your podcasts, or go to www.anchor.fm/gracecubed
Cherry Hill United Methodist Church