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Summary: Poetic reflection for Maundy Thursday, in which the Jesus who is about to go to the cross tells His disciples that He knows their schemes to harm, their unwillingness to travel difficult roads, and their failure to accept the burden of testimony, so that

"Oh, I know your thoughts, and your schemes to wrong me.

... Have you not asked those who travel the roads, and do you not

accept their testimony?”

‘Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is

eating with me." They began to be distressed and to say to him

one after another, "Surely, not I?" He said to them, "It is one of the

twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me.”’

Surely, not I? Not I, Lord; surely, not I?

I know your schemes; you are transparent. Did you think

you could hide from Him who made you? Did you suppose

that your hearts were not open to me? When Adam wore

the fig leaf, did I not see his nakedness? When Eve hid in

the garden, did I not find her wantonness?

I know you. I know your schemes. You are transparent. But

I also know how to touch your hearts. I know how to reach

your innermost being. Dip with me into the bowl of suffering

love and be changed.

I

I know your schemes to wrong me. I know that the heart of

man is deceitful above all things. I know that you want and

want and want more, and that when you do not have, you

grow fretful and impatient and treacherous. I know that as

you seized the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge

of good and evil, you seized the very place of God. You

chose to take unto yourself the things that belong only to

heaven. You chose to deal in death. You schemed to kill –

Abel first, then others, many others, hundreds of others,

thousands. You schemed to kill.

You schemed to kill Esau by taking his birthright, and you

schemed to kill Jacob for revenge. You schemed to kill

Joseph’s brothers’ spirit with dreams of splendor, and then

you schemed to kill Joseph when those dreams hit home.

You schemed to kill Hebrew babies when their strength

threatened you, and you schemed to kill the Egyptian and

spill his blood on the desert sand. You schemed to kill

Goliath when his power challenged you, and you schemed to

abandon Uriah when you wanted his wife. And then you

schemed to bring down David, rebellious Absalom that you

are. I know your schemes, your schemes to wrong me.

You schemed to slaughter, in my name, and claim others’

lands; you called it a Crusade. You schemed to enslave, in

my name, those you called pagan Africans, and said it was

God’s will. You schemed to destroy six million, a holocaust,

and called it solving the Jewish problem. You schemed to

take everything possible – thirty pieces of silver and much

more – and called it free enterprise. You schemed to strike

towers, to bomb cities, to spread disease. I know your

schemes to wrong me.

Surely, not I? Ah, but yes. Yes, more than Judas and his

greed, more than Judas and his impatience, more than

Judas and his misguided mind. Though all sit at the table

and wonder, “Surely, not I?” I know your schemes to wrong

me, for at your core you want to be like God, determining life

and death on your own.

What shall I do with you? Shall I judge you? Mercy is not

cheap. It is costly. The only answer is the Cross. Dip with

me into the bowl of suffering love and be changed.

II

I know your schemes. I know your schemes to wrong me.

Have you not asked those who travel the roads? Have you

not asked those who have traveled wearying, toilsome

roads?

Have you not asked Father Abraham, as he set out from his

father’s house in Ur of the Chaldees, to go to a land he knew

not? Have you not asked Jacob, fleeing a brother’s wrath,

whose road took him to a wrestling match at Jabbok? Have

you not asked Joseph’s brothers, trekking back and forth

from Canaan to Egypt, from hope to disappointment? Have

you not asked those who travel the roads?

I know your schemes. You want it easy. You want to sail on

flowery beds of ease. You want a straight and open

highway. You have walked a little way, only a little way, only

as far as Gethsemane, but now you sleep. You say you are

tired. You believe you have been faithful. But I know your

schemes. You want privilege and power, you desire comfort

and certainty. Have you not asked those who travel the

roads? Who tread along in pain and struggle? Who would

not give up when the way grew long and hard?

Have you not asked Francis of Assisi, who set aside position

and power, shoes and fine clothes, to enter a life of service

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