Thursday, November 03, 2011

For one who doesn’t know

Unwrapping words
infused with meaning
explaining this night
power of what he offered
His body that he offered
that he offered them
bread and the wine
broken, lifted up
the ancient words changed
startling to them
immutable, ordained
changed by the Son of Man

For one who doesn’t know
the layers of the meaning
how to explain that night
something profound, different
his words for them
those who would deny, betray
the others who would run away
Christ’s gift to all of us
breaking of the bread
sharing of the common cup
the choice of sacrifice to come
when the lamb was lifted up

November 3, 2011
written after annotating earlier poem, “On the Night of His Betrayal”
On the Night of His Betrayal – with notes
This poem is about the night that is called Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, the night on which Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot into the hands of the Jewish leaders, who tried him and convicted him and turned him over to Pontius Pilate who, though reluctantly, had Christ crucified.

The meal, the Seder This is about the Passover meal, which is a very formal meal that all Jewish people still perform, at Passover, in remembrance of the night God passed over the Jewish people when God killed all of the first born in Egypt to cause Pharoah to let the Jewish people out of bondage. Blood of lambs was put on the doorframes to indicate they were Jewish homes. The bible instructs them to remember and to go through a specific ritual, with specific language. Jesus changed that, converting it from the Passover meal to the Last Supper, where he instituted Communion, the sharing of bread and wine as symbols of his body and his blood, which Christians continue to this day. The Jewish people had conducted the Passover seder the same way for over 1300 years at the time of Christ's ministry. His changing the words at all would have been jarring to his disciples. They included those who had doubted, those who wanted a very different leader in Jesus, and those who would betray (Judas), deny (Peter), and the rest who ran away in his Christ's time of need.
his blessing of the bread
the breaking, the sharing Again, this is to symbolize Jesus’ body, sacrificed on the cross, to atone for our sins.
the cup as well, his sacrifice Again, this is to symbolize Jesus’ blood, his life given for us.

In words they had never heard This is about the changing of the words, from the hundreds and hundreds of years of the Passover seder to the new words Christ spoke.
a new covenant The old covenant was between God and man and was based on the law given to Moses. This was a new covenant between God and man through the sacrifice of Christ.
the meal that we share The Communion that we share.
remembering what he did That he sacrificed himself for us.

That night of his betrayal Right after the last supper, there is a time when Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and then Judas comes with the temple guards and others and betrays him. It was very vividly portrayed in the film, The Passion of the Christ.
offering to all of them Christ offered the Communion meal to all of his twelve disciples, offering his body for all, including Judas himself, mere hours before the betrayal.
who would deny him, betray him, Peter was the lead disciple and he told Christ he would stay with him, even to death; but, as Christ foretold, Peter denied knowing him that night after his capture three times before the rooster crowed. And Judas was the one who betrayed him.
though they would run away All of the disciples scattered, so they would not be captured, leaving Christ to face the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities alone. In some way, running away is betrayal too.

Like us, still today We too deny him, betray him, run away when God calls.
needing his gift, his grace We all sin and would be punished under the law to eternal damnation. It is only Christ’s gift of his body, his grace in coming to earth and sacrificing himself that saves us at all.
when we too betray, deny him We betray him or deny him when we follow the world’s teachings, when we swear, when we profess faith but don’t act like it.
when we too run away It is sort of like the Prodigal Son story in the bible. Many of us run away from our faith, some come back but some never believe.

The scripture below expands on my explanations or comments above. The poem is about how Christ, before he was betrayed, instituted Communion or the Last Supper even for the flawed followers, even for those who would betray him. He offers the same to each of us. We can come to the Lord’s Table for Communion. He calls us all, offering himself for all of us, sealing the breach between God and man.

Notes added November 3, 2011
in response to student question from Gladstone, Queensland, Australia
March 7, 2010
Mark 14:12, 22-25
Isaiah 11:1-5
Isaiah 52:7 (Call to Worship)
Deuteronomy 16:1-8
Exodus 12:1-28
Deuteronomy 11:16-21
and sermon, “A Last Meal”
by Pastor Ruth L. Foss
the first in a series of sermons, based in part on the book,
“24 Hours That Changed the World”, by Reverend Adam Hamilton
Suncook United Methodist Church
Suncook, NH
February 28, 2010
Matthew 26:36-46
Psalm 461:11 (Call to Worship)
Psalm 130:1-8
Psalm 138 (Prayer of Dedication)
Worship Theme: “Our Times of Personal Trial”
and sermon, “With Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane”
by Reverend Huntley Halvorson
the second in a series of sermons, based in part on the book,
“24 Hours That Changed the World”, by Reverend Adam Hamilton
Suncook United Methodist Church
Suncook, NH
March 7, 2010
Third Sunday in Lent

All of my poems are copyrighted by Raymond A. Foss, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011. All rights reserved. Contact me at Ray Foss for usage.
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