Psalm 70 • Isaiah 50:4-9a • Hebrews 12:1-3 • John 13:21-32
I try to imagine the scene described in John 13:21-32, in which Jesus is gathered with his beloved disciples and announces that one who is present will betray him and thus, bring an end to his life and his teaching as they have known it. Jesus knows the heart of his beloved disciple, understands his weakness, predicts his betrayal, and yet feeds him bread, and dispatches him with love. I cannot imagine a more powerful, and transformative response to Evil. Because, Evil has a way of leading us down the dark corridor of forgetting our relationship with God, and of how radically we are held by Love, regardless of our weakness, fears, and perpetual missteps.
When I allow this story to resonate inside of my own life experience, I’m reminded that the greatest gift of becoming a parent is finding that my life is no longer my own, and I am thereby enriched in ways I could never have imagined. My life is enriched because I am called by Love, again and again, to serve Love, and I am pulled from that dark corridor of forgetting. My mother once said that the fact that my young child took me for granted indicated the goodness of my parenting. I would have preferred an ongoing display of adoration and appreciation for my efforts, but the point is that I have felt called to Love in the face of another’s humanity, even when it might be unpleasant, painful, or heartbreaking. In the face of his own death, Jesus offered this gift to his disciple. Though Judas fell out of relationship with his community and teacher, followed his fear and lost his way, in Jesus’ radically loving response, he was given a light by which to find his way back. Thanks be to God.
― Jenny Gladding