Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Proper 26, Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost November 4, 2012 All Saints’ Sunday, Year B Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9; Revelation 21:1-6a
Proper 25, Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost October 28, 2012 Proper 25, Year B Jeremiah 31:7-9; Hebrews 7:23-28 ; Psalm 126;Mark 10:46-52
Proper 24, Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost October 21, 2012 Proper 24, Year B Mark 10:35-45; Isaiah 53:4-12; Psalm 91:9-16
Proper 23, Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost October 14, 2012 Sermon, Proper 23, Year B Amos 5:6-7. 10-15; Hebrews 4:12-16, Mark 10: 17-31
Proper 22, Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost October 7, 2012 Proper 22, Year B Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 8; Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16
Proper 21, Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 30, 2012 Sermon, Proper 21, Year B James 5:13-20, Mark 9:38-50
Proper 20, Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost September 23, 2012 Proper 20, Year B James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37
Proper 19, Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 16, 2012 Proper 19, Year B Mark 8:27-38
Proper 18, Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 9, 2012 Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-10, 14-17; Mark 7:24-37 Proper 18, Year B
Proper 17, Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 2, 2012 Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 5-9; James 1:17-27 Sermon, Proper 17, Year B
Proper 16, Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost August 26, 2012 Proper 16, Year B Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18, Psalm 34:15-22, Ephesians 6:10-20, John 6:56-69
Proper 15, Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost August 19, 2012 Proper 15, Year B Proverbs 9:1-6, Psalm 34:9-14, Ephesians 5:15-20, John 6:51-58
Proper 14, Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost August 12, 2012 Sermon, Proper 14, Year B I Kings 19:4-8; Psalm 34:1-8; Ephesians 4:25-5:2, John 6:35, 41-51
Proper 13, Tenth Sunday after Pentecost August 5, 2012 Proper 13, Year B Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15; Psalm 78:23-29; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:24-35
Proper 12, Ninth Sunday after Pentecost July 29, 2012 Proper 12, Ninth Sunday after Pentecost Ephesians 3:14-21, John 6:1-21

 

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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