Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Lectionary: 282

But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.

There is painful irony in the story of Jesus’ washing Judas’ feet. Both knew what was about to happen yet neither hesitated. Judas kept to his plan to lead the temple police to Jesus in Gethsemane; the other disciples had no clue and could not imagine what he was about. Jesus washed the traitor’s feet with the same tender care he showed to all the disciples, “so that the scripture might be fulfilled.”

Then Jesus assured his disciples, “From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.”

To be fully human one must have a sense of time: an awareness of the past, present and future. To lose contact with any of those is to experience severe disorientation. No one knows the future with any certainty but we need some sense of what is about to happen. No one can explain everything about the past but we have a pretty good idea of how we got here. No one can comprehend everything that is happening at any given moment but we can pay attention to what we’re doing with some assurance of expectations and outcome.

What was about to happen to the disciples was beyond comprehension. There they were in the Upper Room having a pleasant evening meal with their familiar Master. If he seemed somewhat preoccupied and some of his words and gestures were mystifying, well, he was always like that to some degree. If they thought about the future they knew he’d probably go to the Garden of Gethsemane as he often did, to pray for a while.

They could not imagine the tornado that was about to fall upon them, and the hurricane of events that would sweep the Lord out of their lives.
But Jesus warned his disciples of this and similar catastrophes. There would be, and have been, and will be -- many. Two millennia later, we have not yet come to the last of them. 

I have said human beings, to feel at all secure, need a sense of where we are in relation to past, present and future. Failing that, the only rational course -- to preserve one's sanity and to avoid collapsing into utter panic -- is to trust someone else. The child must trust her father or mother; or her big brother or sister, aunt or uncle. "There must be someone I can trust!" 

As we plunge ahead into an era of renewed nationalism with its suspicions, fears and hostilities, we must believe the Lord knows what is happening and where we are. He will guide us forward with his own Holy Spirit. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.