Holy week prayers

Morning/Evening Prayer for Holy Wednesday

Reading: Matthew 26:1-5, 14-25

In the synoptic gospels Jesus is portrayed as being more human, more subject to the vicissitudes of human experience than the Jesus told by John’s gospel. Yet his perception and anticipation of what is ahead of him seems to be strikingly keen in the synoptics.

He knows and tells the disciples

that with the coming of Passover he will be crucified,
that the woman’s act of anointing his feet is preparation for his burial,
that a certain man will allow his house to be the dining room for Jesus and his disciples to eat the Passover meal,
that one of his disciples will betray him.
He even knows somehow that it was the one who had just at the moment dipped his bread in the bowl of sop and that fickle as the rest were they would simply chicken out when the pressure was on.

Morning has come again, Teacher Jesus,
and it is Holy Wednesday,
the 39th day of Lent in our reckoning.
But what time is it really? That is the trick.
How did you know?
How did you know so much?
Was it prescience?
Were you following a script written for you
that you simply played out in dogged obedience?
Was it a keen sense of the way things were lined up
and seeing the dots you connected them
like a gifted child who know her numbers in a something-to-do-book?
Who was the “certain man” in the city
who would know the code words
“The Teacher says my time has come”?
Are we the certain man, the certain woman?
Are we the ones whose names are unknown but to you?
Are we the ones your emissaries approach this Holy Wednesday, saying,
“The Teacher says, My time is near…
I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.”
Is that where we come into the story?
Just out of sight …
Not named …
Seemingly hidden,
but still essential to the drama unfolding?
Still stewards of a place,
an interior space
where the Passover Haggadah can again be passionately told?
Where food can be shared in the context of sacred story?
Where God’s deliverance of an oppressed people
can again be rehearsed in the present moment?
Where the impending cross
will be interpreted not as a miscarriage of justice,
but as love’s self-giving?
And bleeding out is named
as the making of a covenant of forgiveness and the promise of eating together again?
Where do we come into today’s gospel drama, Teacher?
If we have something you need,
will we offer it when the stranger approaches?
If we have a space that can be turned to sacred use,
will we welcome the request
without signing papers to protect our interests?
If your time is near today, will we be able to be found
in the city,
in the workplace,
among the family,
in the crowd,
in the silence?
Will we be available to love you and welcome you
as your story is told anew this Holy Week?
Will we stand just out of view,
unnamed and unknown except to you,
and do our part today?
Who or what will get our attention?
The calendar that calls today Holy Wednesday?
A phone call or an email from someone hurting?
A news story about Red Lake or Darfur?
A prompting to just stop and enter the silence?
What or who will get our attention today?

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