I’ve made no secret of the fact that these last few years have been simultaneously wonderful, ugly, freeing, constraining, spiritual and secular. Graduate school educated me and changed me, and not always for the better. Since, I’ve had to rediscover myself and what made me leave my beloved Great Republic and move to the Land of Winter for school in the first place. A colleague describes it as “turning [Specific Type of Graduate] students back into humans again”. Ouch. But right.
In the Land of Winter, and in the two years since, I haven’t felt like reflecting on my faith. There has been the starting of my business (a completely secular and all consuming process), the making sure I don’t make a colossal mistake and thereby lose my license to Do What I Do, moving, rediscovering The Great Republic, and the television. Oh, sweet television. Balm, elixir, friend, helpmate. And bacon. About all of these things I can wax rapturously, and have, so much easier than my faith. It felt better. (Oooh-we’re getting close to BLT season again! YAY!!!!!)
But today, not so. Today is about what happened two thousand-ish years ago today. Today, (okay, not today, but typing “two thousand-ish years ago today” is going to get even longer, Andy, so we’re going to have to come up with some kind of compromise for the sake of Andy’s delicate eyeballs…we’ll call it “2kToday”) So, 2kToday, my King knew He was going to be betrayed. He knew He was to be betrayed by one He held very close. He also knew that 2kToday was the Feast of Passover. A remembrance of one of God’s greatest acts of deliverance, an Act of Grace, a remembrance of a Promise and a Covenant. And so my King celebrated with His closest. Like many families do today during Passover season. He had a dinner party. And invited all of His closest. Even the one who would ultimately betray him. He broke bread with them. He was the Consummate Host. (And whoa, we could get really deep with the analysis of “Host” versus “host” and all that signifies, but Andy’s having a really big party this summer and I want him to invite me.) He entertained graciously and Graciously.
All while knowing.
It’s a little bit like having to invite your nutso third cousin twice removed to Thanksgiving Dinner, knowing FULL WELL that she’s going to start swapping out the different colored stickers placed discreetly on the family furniture to ensure that when your grandma dies, SHE will get the secretary’s desk that she KNOWS you love and have a secret spot where you drew on it with a blue crayon when you were five and stupid. Just a little bit like that.
Only instead of watching His betrayer like a hawk waiting to swoop in at the first sign of tomfoolery, my King celebrated with His friends. His betrayer. He poured out His Body and His Blood. He Served.
I have books about entertaining. I am ashamed.
And after the dinner, my King went into the garden. And here we could discuss the technicalities (and lo, there are many), whether He saw every act that would ever be done and every person ever to be or whether He just felt the entirety of the human condition and suffering in one awful night of agonizing prayer, the fact is that He prayed. He didn’t run, He didn’t experience the first bit of suffering and decide, “You know what, this was a mistake.” He stayed, experienced, felt, hurt (oh, how it must have hurt, and to know that it was only an appetizer to the hurt that was to come to Him in the next three days…), and still…prayed. He prayed for deliverance, because He was indeed very much a human, but He prayed for His Father’s Will to be done. The far harder prayer. He stuck around for the second part of the prayer.
And his guests? His closest? They took a little postprandial nap. I am ashamed.
After my King was done praying, He was betrayed, one of those closest to Him gave Him away. We focus a lot on that one person. That HE was the one who did it. But I think (and this is backed up by literally minutes of theological study) that misses the point. We all did it. We are all wicked. We are all human. So very, very human. And as such, in order for the Grace to happen, betrayal had to happen. So the one who did it was really just a representative of all of us.
And during the scuffle pursuant to His arrest (trust me, there is ALWAYS a scuffle pursuant to arrest) a person (servant? details get fuzzy over two thousand years) was hurt. (Details get fuzzy over 24 hours when an arrest is involved, even if there is a videotape.) And my King, facing a justice system as scary as any invented since, a justice system stacked against Him, paused, and healed the hurt.
That’s what happened 2kToday. We’ll talk about 2kTomorrow, well, tomorrow. There is hurting and healing there, too.
PS-if you still have a little bit of snack left, you might go check out It’s Almost Naptime’s post. She’s pretty great at telling the story-and briefer. (And I have no idea how much credit she requires, but please know that I am not stealing her words–they are hers, and they are fantastic. TOTALLY HERS. NOT MINE. I’m merely linking to them in my blog so that my reader(s?) can enjoy, too, because I don’t think our readership overlaps much. Which is a shame.) (Hers.) (Missy Dollahon.) (The end.)