Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012

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Proper 9, Sixth Sunday After Pentecost July 8, 2012 Sermon, Proper 9, Year B 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13
Proper 8, Fifth Sunday After Pentecost July 1, 2012 Sermon, Proper 8, Year B Lamentations 3:21-33; Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Mark 5:21-43
Proper 7, Fourth Sunday in Pentecost June 24, 2012 Sermon, Proper 7, Year B Job 38:1-11, Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32; Mark 4:35-41
Proper 5, Second Sunday in Pentecost June 10, 2012 Sermon, Proper 5, Year B (Second Sunday of Pentecost) Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Trinity Sunday, Year B June 3, 2012 Trinity Sunday, Year B Isaiah 6:1-8; Ps 29; Romans 8:12-17;John 3:1-17
Day of Pentecost, Year B May 27, 2012 Day of Pentecost, Year B Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
Sixth Sunday in Easter, Year B May 13, 2012 Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B Psalm 98, 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17
Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B May 6, 2012 Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:24-30; I John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8
Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year B April 29, 2012 Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18
Third Sunday in Easter, Year B April 22, 2012 Second Sunday of Easter, Year B Luke 24:36b-48
Second Sunday in Easter, Year B April 15, 2012 Second Sunday of Easter, Year B John 20:19-31
Easter, April 8, 2012 April 8, 2012 Sermon, Easter Sunday, Year B Mark 16:1-8
Good Friday, April 6, 2012 April 6, 2012 Good Friday John 18:1-19:42
Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012 April 5, 2012 Maundy Thursday John 13:1-35
Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B March 25, 2012 Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B John 12:20-33

 

Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sermon Date:April 5, 2012

Scripture: John 13:1-35

Liturgy Calendar: Maundy Thursday


Can you remember the first time you ever felt betrayed?  When someone you trusted acted in a way that harmed you physically or financially or emotionally?
In sixth grade, at William Street School, I had a friend with long blonde hair, pretty blue eyes, and a great personality.    

The next year, seventh grade, was our first year at Goldsboro Junior High School.  On the first confusing and hectic day in a whole new school, I was thrilled to see my friend far down the hall beyond the unfamiliar faces of the junior high school teachers and the older kids, who were pushing their way through the halls.   

I managed to work my way over to where she was.  She was surrounded by some of our mutual friends from William St,  and a some of the older kids as well.   

“Hello, Jennifer!”  I called out. 

The others turned to look at me, and so did Jennifer. 

She never said a word.  She looked right through me as though I were invisible. She didn’t even say hello.  When she ignored me, so did everybody else.   And then they all closed ranks, and I turned away, absolutely stunned by this outright rejection, what felt like a door slammed in my face by someone that I thought was my friend. 

Almost fifty years later, this first betrayal that I can ever remember still stings just a little when I think about it.    

Inevitably, all of us have experienced  betrayals of some sort in our lives.   People we trust and love let us down.  Sometimes we even feel as if God has betrayed us because of something that happens in our lives.    I’ll spare you a laundry list—I’m sure you have a list of your own uncomfortable and downright awful experiences of being betrayed.   

But how are we to deal positively with these betrayals? 

Let’s consider the story we have heard from the gospel tonight.   

In  this reading,  we find out  that Jesus knows that his hour has come to die, and he knows that Judas Iscariot will betray him. 

Now Judas was one of the twelve, who had been with Jesus throughout his ministry.  And so Judas was there at the last meal that this family of disciples shared together.  And Jesus washed the feet of all of the disciples, including the feet of Judas.   

After Jesus washes the feet of the disciples, he is troubled in spirit and he tells the disciples that he is troubled because one of them will betray him.   

What happens next is quite fascinating.  The beloved disciple asks Jesus who will betray him, and Jesus says, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.”

Ray Brown, one of our foremost New Testament scholars tells us that Jesus extends to Judas what would have been considered in that culture “a special act of esteem whereby a host singles out a guest whom he wishes to honor and picks out for him from the common plate a choice morsel of food.”   

At this decisive moment, as he accepts this choice morsel of food, Judas has another chance.   

He can choose, either for Jesus, or for Satan. 

And Judas chooses Satan.  In fact, John says that “Satan entered into Judas” at this moment.   

And so after receiving the piece of bread, Judas immediately went out.  And the chilling final words of this passage are, “And it was night.” 

Judas has made his decision. 

Judas chooses Satan and goes alone out into the darkness. 
 

Now based on this story, what does Jesus teach us about how to deal with those who betray us?   

Jesus shows us that we are to leave a high wattage porch light on. 

Leave the porch light on, even for those, especially for those who go out into the darkness to betray us. 

And the porch light that Jesus asks us to keep burning brightly is the light of love we have for one another and the light of humble service with which we serve one another, a light so brilliant that it scatters the darkness before it, and illumines the path back for those who have wandered far away from us into a dark wasteland.   

Inevitably, some will betray us, and some we love will leave us, never to return. 

But what if they should turn back?   

Leave the porch light on.

 

Amen. 

 

Resource used for this sermon:  The Gospel according to John XIII-XXI:  A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary by Raymond F. Brown. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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