The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Take eat...

“This is my body.” (Luke 22:19)

Jesus breaks the bread and enlivens crushed grain into a meal of life. The grain has lost its nature as a kernel to be turned into a loaf of life. The bread, a basic stable of all cuisines in every culture, is given to the disciples who tear off a piece to eat just as it still done Middle Eastern customs. When I go the home of my Afghanistan friends, we tear the bread apart. There are no knives.

As the bread is passed, Jesus says, “Wait, wait one minute, the one who is going to betray me is at the table sharing this bread with us.” We are quickly reminded of what happens a few hours later when Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss in the Garden of Gethsemane. In Luke’s gospel and in the tradition of the early church, Judas’ kiss is interpreted as the triumph of Satan as Satan has possessed Judas and moved him to betray Jesus (Luke 22:3-6). The bread and cup are now in the hands of Satan’s pawns.

Do you ever feel that you live among the pawns of Satan? Do you ever wonder if you are Satan’s pawn (be careful how you answer)? Jesus invites you to his table to eat of his body.

Ronald Friesen © 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Take this....

“Take this and divide this among yourselves. (Luke 22: 17)

Luke, the physician, the author of this record of Jesus’ last meal does not waste much time getting into the meat of the significance of this meal: “I want to share this last meal with you before I suffer.” After blessing the cup, he says, “Take this, and divide this among yourselves.” Jesus did not drink this cup because his time to drink the cup of suffering was still to come. Jesus would drink the cup when the kingdom was fully realized.

Note the words, “take this, and divide this among yourselves” is quickly tied into who these table guests were. Jesus says to them that sitting among them is one who will betray them. Jesus invites all to his table even traitors to the Kingdom. Jesus’s parable about being careful not to tear out the weeds when trying to take care of the wheat (Matthew 13: 24-30) reminds us that God is the final arbiter of who is truly worthy of eating and drinking with him in the Kingdom. As Paul Minear reminds us, “ To eat with him (Jesus) was to become vulnerable to divine judgment and divine grace” (p. 181).

As you come to the table of Jesus you may feel full of shame and guilt: Jesus invitation is for you, “Take this.”

Ron Friesen © 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Welcome to Holy Week 2015

For several years I have been writing a reflection for Holy Week. This year I am thinking about the conversations Jesus had with his disciples and friends around the table during the last week of this life.

In Middle Eastern culture conversations around food are very significant. The food is almost incidental to the conversation and the conversation is not about the food!

When I visit my friends from the Middle East, the conversation must always be around the table.

I am encouraging you and me to sit with Jesus this week and talk about what was on his heart and mind in the last week of his life. I encourage you to think about which of the disciples you identify with the most in these table talks with Jesus.

Paul Minear penned this provocative sentence: “Table fellowship as interpreted by the table talk constituted the gospel.” Table fellowship is an enactment of what the gospel is about: reconciliation. The Good News or gospel is about reconciling the God and people. Table talk is the embodiment of reconciliation. Eating with the enemy is not treason; eating with the enemy is the gospel lived. Jesus, the God-man, eats with the enemy.

I invite you to the table to eat and talk with Jesus.

Ron Friesen © 2015

One of the helpful resources for these meditations is Paul S. Minear, (1972). Commands of Christ, New York, New York: Abingdon Press.