Thursday, April 21, 2011

Even Judas

It's Maundy Thursday, and I really wanted to go to Maundy Thursday service, but ended up sick instead. So I read through the various gospel accounts of the Last Supper, and was reminded that John's gospel is the only one with all this foot-washing business. All of the others have the institution of the Lord's Supper, Jesus' identification of Judas as His betrayer, and His prophesy about Peter denying Him... but no foot-washing.

Which got me to thinking... what's consistent across the Gospel narratives of this event is that Christ states openly that He is going to die after one of His followers turns Him over to the authorities and that His Number One Fan Simon Peter is going to deny that he even knows Jesus. What's consistent is His open, no holds-barred acknowledgement in the presence of His disciples that they are going to treat Him like trash... worse than trash... in just a few hours.

This makes the humility of Christ's washing the disciples' feet in John all the more poignant. He wasn't just submitting Himself as a servant to those beneath Him... He was submitting Himself to those who, despite having witnessed Him heal the sick and raise the dead, and despite His having spent 3 long years living with and training them, would either facilitate His murder or stand idly by while it happened.

I can't get there. I can't *imagine* being able to do that. I can imagine punching them in the face, *not* washing their feet. So this is a poem about that.

even judas

When I think of You washing
the disciples' feet --
God incarnate, washing dust
and dung off of the furry, calloused feet
of full-grown men--
I am moved to tears, and love,
and gratitude to worship and follow
such a servant, Savior, God.

Until You get to Judas.
And then I want to stop You.
You knew Judas would betray You.
You knew that within a few short hours,
of Your carefully washing dung out
from between his toes,
he would turn You over to torture,
to humiliation, and to a bloody,
gruesome
death.

I want to step in and say,
"Not him. Please don't touch him.
Please don't wash his feet."
Because I don't understand
how You did it.
How did You forgive him,
and minister to him,
even in that moment?

Your humility moves me.
Your mercy... Your mercy...
Your mercy confounds me.
"Forgive as you have been forgiven."
But I can't. I try, but anger seeps in.
I couldn't wash Judas' feet.

"This is a new commandment:
Love one another, as I have loved you."
Even Judas.

Oh, Jesus, I have so far to go.
Please help me, servant LORD.

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