Friday, March 29 – The Sacrifice of Hanging On

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

me.

How important is it to know when to let go and move on versus hanging on and hanging in regardless?  Keeping on … keeping on.  Why do we need to hang on to certain things and not others, certain people, activities and projects and not others?  Endings and beginnings surround us.  They are the fiber and texture of who we are, who we think we are, and who we might become.

Think about the place of endings in your own life?  Consider how they have come about.  Have at least some of these endings been your choice?  Have some endings come at the hands of others?  Could an ending come about because someone else or others thought it was time, yet you were not ready and wanted to continue … wanted to hang on?

Perhaps it would be useful for each of us to cultivate the ability to recognize and embrace endings and possible endings in our own lives, our own circumstances.  It also is possible to recognize that endings need not be sad occasions.  In many instances, an ending or endings can be about passing to others what has already been started and nurtured.

 

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