52 Weeks at the Table – Week 31
Because of their idolatry and disobedience, God allowed His people to be conquered, and the best of them deported to a kingdom called Babylon. There they were captive for seventy years. During that time, a king named Belshazzar ordered a banquet at which sacred bread-plates and wine-goblets plundered from the temple in Jerusalem were used to fest and toast his idol-gods. The prophet Daniel interpreted God’s handwriting on the plaster wall of the banquet hall – and that night, Belshazzar and his kingdom fell.
During the captivity, Esther was a beautiful captive chosen in a contest to become the consort of another king, named Xerxes. When a plot of genocide against the captured Jews by an official named Haman became known to her through her overhearing uncle Mordecai, she accused Haman at a private banquet she gave only for him and her husband, King Xerxes. Haman was immediately hanged on the gallows he had built to execute Mordecai.
Jesus also chose the occasion of a banquet – the Passover feast – to quietly reveal the plot against Himself by Judas. He named no names; simply prophesied that one of the twelve who shared in dipping the bread and drinking the wine would betray Him to His enemies. The betrayer, like the other eleven, asked “Surely not I?” And Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.” Then He served the bread and shared the cup.
A Prayer Over the Bread
God, our Father through the grace of Christ, it would seem that there have long been plots and conspiracies against those who love You – but Your reserve in not foiling the one against Your Son – in letting Him be the One cursed by hanging on a tree – perplexes and humbles us. As we remember this, His body given for us, while we eat this bread, we confess our awe and gratitude for the love you have shown us in Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
A Prayer Over the Cup
Holy and Righteous One, You know what is to come before it even enters our minds. You know what is in the hearts of those who love You and those who betray You. You know what is in our hearts right now. If You find anything there that does not recognize the blood of Your Son as we share this cup, root it out and crucify it and replace it with the life that His sacrifice brings. Amen.