Luke 22:14 – 34
When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Child of the Human One is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” Then they began to ask one another, which one of them it could be who would do this. A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. “You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father/Mother has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your sisters and brothers.” And he said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.”
German Pastor Martin Niemoller’s (1892-1984) Prison Prayer
This poem relates to the passivity of many Germans in the l930s and into the World War II years. During this time, targeted group after targeted group was purged by Nazi and other like-minded parties in Germany as well as elsewhere. Pastor Niemoller, who early on publicly protested such measures, was seen at least by some as Adolf Hitler’s personal prisoner from 1937 to almost the end of World War II in l945. His imprisonment included time at Sachsenhausen and Dachau.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
And then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for
How often do we have the opportunity to stand up against whatever is wrong, daring to do right? Such instances can be in a group conversation, an inherently offensive e-mail one receives, or an interaction with someone who just assumes you think a certain way when you do not. Think back to a time when one or all of these happened and you chose to not say or do anything to set things straight. This can happen for any number of reasons. Did you not want to make a scene? Did you not want to hurt someone else’s feelings? Did you not want to risk the possible loss of an acquaintance or friend? Did you feel socially or intellectually outgunned, silently deferring to someone with possibly more education or more money than yourself? Perhaps it involved your boss or co-workers or even people at church.
Think also of the times you have stepped forward as well as those occasions when you simply stood still, unmoving. What about when you actually stepped back, retreated? Distanced one’s self? Is it not important to have or develop the confidence to know when to lead, when to help to lead or even when to follow?
Consider standing up to whatever is wrong the next time an opportunity presents itself. Think of this as a lifestyle change living forward.