52 Weeks at the Table – Week 22
It was a particularly low point in the life of King David when he and his small entourage left Jerusalem to the onslaught of his estranged son Absalom. Not far out of the gates, they were met by Ziba, who brought bread, cakes, fruit and wine to refresh the king. Ziba, who had many sons, was awarded the property of Saul’s heir Mephibosheth by David, in gratitude for his kindness – yet one must wonder if David sensed a disingenuous tone in Ziba’s offer.
Not long after, a man named Shimei cursed the Lord’s anointed, throwing rocks and dirt at him – yet David, in his humility, would not order his death. Blessings and cursings.
Then, three chapters later, with Jerusalem reoccupied, we find Ziba accused by Mephibosheth of abandoning him. Perhaps unable to determine the truth, David ordered the property of Saul divided between them. And Shimei, confronted by the king, showed abject penitence, and was shown mercy yet again.
Blessings and cursings. At the last meal Jesus hosts, He serves a cup of blessing … yet there is no question that He senses the disingenuous tone of Judas, and pronounces a curse of woe on the betrayer – confirming exactly who it was. For Judas had already negotiated the price, and was watching for the place and time.
Betrayal over a meal with bread and wine.
A Prayer Over the Bread
Our God, this meal draws us to remember not only who You are, who Your Son is – but also who we are. We have no deep intention to betray You, but when we leave this table, we do forget. We remember only ourselves, and what we desire. May this bread remind us not to offer our gifts to the King out of the desire to receive something for ourselves – like Ziba – but to give selflessly to You and to others, as Jesus gave all for us. Amen.
A Prayer Over the Cup
Holy, Righteous One, please accept our praise for Your forgiving nature. In our rebellion and sin, we have sometimes tossed rocks at Your righteousness and thrown dirt on Your Name. Yet in this moment we see You enthroned, and we are humbled to obeisance. May this cup remind us of the price of our utter disrespect – Your Son’s blood – and may it draw us to the penitence of Shimei each time we share it. Amen.