Maundy Thursday Devotion

Eating. We all have to do it. And during this corona pandemic, we realize just how important food, the grocery store, and food industry workers are to our survival.

Daily I hear things on the radio about food, recipes, how and what to cook during these days of shelter-in-place, safer-at-home. Many people, evidently, are not used to cooking at home on a daily basis. And then there is the bread and baking craze. But, we don’t live by bread alone. How about lentils? Beans? Vegetables, anyone?

These corona days are giving us more awareness of the importance of food in our lives. People miss going out to eat and sitting with friends in a restaurant; so much so that they are resorting to dinner parties on Zoom and other video chat platforms.

And then there is the ultimate dinner event, the Passover Seder. Again, people are employing ingenuity and technology to observe this sacred meal.

We are finding that we long to be together around a table with food. In China. In Italy. In Africa. In New York. It seems no matter where we are in this world, we are missing eating together.

Today we remember the stories of Jesus eating with his friends, celebrating Passover, the night before he is crucified. Jesus, too, is sustained by food. He, too needs food, companionship, and relationship. Jesus, too, is sustained by religious ritual; by observance and practice. Yes, today we remember our common need for sustenance of many kinds.

We also remember the stories of how Jesus’ friends let him down. How Judas betrayed Jesus to the authorities. How Peter denied Jesus to protect himself. How Jesus’ besties fell asleep when he asked them to watch and pray in his darkest hour.

COVID-19 is also revealing our proclivity for betrayal:

We betray one another by relaxing our vigilance against this disease. By ignoring guidelines for disinfecting and staying put.

We betray each other by giving in to our desires for material goods and direct social connection.

We betray each other by denying healthcare to those in need, including those needing abortions.

We betray each other by not providing needed personal protective equipment to essential workers.

We betray one another by not contacting loved ones and lonely ones.

We betray each other by letting people lose their homes and jobs and fall into poverty.

We betray each other by forgetting those who cannot apply for unemployment and assistance when libraries are closed and they have no access to the Internet.

As we eat and drink each day may we remember our common bond as human beings and may we learn to live without betraying each other.

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