A reflection on Judas

On this Maundy Thursday, I would rather not look at Judas or even think about him for that matter. Judas, one of the Twelve, one who had walked with Jesus, seen the blind restored to sight, recognized the look of understanding when the deaf could hear, who witnessed the dead restored to life becomes the one to betray Jesus. Was it the cost of perfume, the equivalent of a year’s wage what tipped him over the edge? Was Judas repulsed by the extravagant expression of worship offered as she anointed Jesus head, declaring he was the Messiah? How could a woman dare to anoint a king? How could a king speak of anointing as preparation for a burial? What shifted for Judas, that in their last gathering he refers to him as Teacher (Rabbi), when the others acknowledged him as Lord?

 Was it the culmination of unfulfilled expectations? Had Judas hoped Jesus would be the one to set all things aright? Had he felt rebuffed when Jesus’ mission, his talk of dying did not align with his purposes? Within disappointment were seeds of distrust sown?

 I would like to not think I am like Judas, yet I too recognize how I have backed away from Jesus when the cost had seemed too high. I can see how I have held onto offenses when someone’s actions did not measure up to what I know is right. I know I have condemned those who have been unjust toward those on the margins. I remember the pain of unfulfilled hopes, the crushing fear of rejection.

 On this Maundy Thursday I see the possibility of betrayal in me.  

 What is the response? What can I do? Trust. Do not let your trust in Me erode is the whisper I hear. Brennan Manning reminds me, “There can be no faith without doubt, no hope without anxiety, no trust without worry.”[1]

Lord, we bring ourselves to you … our faith and doubt, our hope and anxiety, our worry and trust. We ask for courage to place our trust in your presence and abiding love.  

Matthew 26:14-27:10  

Post written by Carol McLaughlin. Carol has recently been “certified ready to receive a call” in the Presbyterian Church-USA and is an adjunct professor at Portland Seminary. Among the joys in life are time spent with family, walks near Puget Sound, reading, and conversation with friends.

[1] Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust: A Ragamuffin’s Path to God (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 104.

If

If

Proverbs 2/Wisdom speaks: “If you . . .receive and treasure my words . . . if you call out for insight . . . if you seek it like silver . . . Then you will understand awe, righteousness and justice and equity and every good path; you will find knowledge of God; this knowledge will be pleasant to your soul and discretion will watch over you. Then you will walk in the way of the good . . .”

Forgiveness, Presidents, and Good Friday

Forgiveness, Presidents, and Good Friday

In my childhood I recall my grandmother reveling in the Camelot years of the Kennedy's. As a teen I recall voting for Carter with the zeal of a righteous 'know-it-all'. In my early 20's I was relieved to find that my voting record did not factor into my service as an intern in the Reagan White House.  Phew! You see, 1980’s Washington had a category for what might be perceived as ‘youthful indiscretion’.  It was forgiven.

Wake Up Call

Wake Up Call

Have you ever wondered why we have "alarm" clocks to wake us? In order to move out of a place of sleep, we usually need something severe to cause a more conscious state. It would be more enjoyable if we could easily wake up from a deep sleep, but those other tools - soft music, a gentle touch - often encourage only a turn-over to continue the sleep.

Hope in Hard Places

Hope in Hard Places

Luke 24:13-35 the Walk to Emmaus

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.

Tears

Tears

Psalm 126:5-6

May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

"You never know what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you've never seen before. A pair of somebody's old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.

If

If

Proverbs 2/Wisdom speaks: “If you . . .receive and treasure my words . . . if you call out for insight . . . if you seek it like silver . . . Then you will understand awe, righteousness and justice and equity and every good path; you will find knowledge of God; this knowledge will be pleasant to your soul and discretion will watch over you. Then you will walk in the way of the good . . .”

If/Then. Protasis/Apodosis. Condition/Consequence.

Maybe the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches of Arminian Theology (Methodist, Church of England, some Baptists) have it right when the advocate for a cooperative soteriology? “IF-Then.” Holy Spirit educated free Collaborators. Grace+ Human Cooperation. Free Will and Prevenient Grace. Jesus said, “Oh Jerusalem . . . I wanted to gather your children . . . but you were not willing.” Choice. Cooperation.

...Pause & Paint...

...Pause & Paint...
“And hope sprouts new, because God doesn’t give us a list. He invites us into the story.” 
                                                                              — Emily P. Freeman / A million little ways.

During this season of Lent, I have been reflecting on the art of pausing.

Follow

Follow

Luke 5:27 – “After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,” Jesus said to him.

I found it interesting to read what happened prior to Jesus whooping it up with Levi at a banquet with the tax collector and his friends. The ones that the Pharisees and their scribes would not be caught dead with. See right before Jesus connected with Levi he was (I imagine) impressed with the tenacity of the paralytic’s friends who cut a hole in the roof and lowered their friend down in front of Jesus to be healed. Jesus took one look at the man and told him his sins were forgiven. This caused an uproar! Who was he that he could do that! So Jesus met them where they were at and instead said, “Ok, well then take up your mat and go home!” (v. 24) Who was he to claim such a thing! What audacity he had!