Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This week I am sharing thoughts from Archbishop William Temple's classic work Readings in St. John's Gospel in these daily meditations.
"The hostilities of enemies cannot wound the soul as does the disloyalty of a friend. The scene is intensely vivid. Those at table would recline on the left elbow and eat with the right hand. The Beloved Disciple is at the Lord's right. Suppose that Judas, as treasurer, was at Jesus' left, a seat of honor. The dialogue between Jesus and Judas is intimate, their voices heard only by the other. With Judas so close, Jesus hands him the morsel and seals his fate. The Betrayer moves to the door and opens it. From the presence of the Light of the World he heads into the darkness of betrayal. There are no more pregnant words in the whole of literature than these: and it was night."
(W Temple, Readings in St. John's Gospel, pg. 209-12)
In the 15th chapter of this Gospel, still on this night of betrayal, Jesus calls his disciples his friends. In baptism, we are made a disciple and friend as well, and each time we receive the Eucharist we are strengthened for serving the world in Christ's name, to the glory of the Father. Our loyalty wavers because of sin. God's grace heals and restores us.
On this Wednesday in Holy Week also known as Spy Wednesday, the words of Archbishop Temple catch me up short: The hostilities of enemies cannot wound the soul as does the disloyalty of a friend.
Deliver me, dear Lord, from the darkness of the night I choose. Lord Jesus, I confess my sins, and ask your forgiveness, that I may be a true and loyal friend and servant.