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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wondering about betrayal

Without betrayal, this probably wouldn't have happened 

The stories about the death of Jesus make it pretty clear that he was betrayed by his friend Judas. There is some disagreement about why Judas betrayed Jesus, but that is because people are searching to discover why Judas WOULD betray Jesus? I mean, what would it take for you to betray your best friend and teacher? Do you have a price? Do you have an unmet goal? What does it take for you to betray someone?

I think what the story of Judas' betrayal shows is that all of us have a price. We may not know it, we may deny it, we may shake our heads at my insistence that we all have a price...but we do. that's why torture works. Now, Judas wasn't tortured in order to betray Jesus. Even Peter betrays him eventually. But we all have a price for betrayal.

And it's a moving price...some betrayals are going to cost a lot. Some are pretty innocent. But all betrayal makes people vulnerable to people they didn't expect to be vulnerable to.

Now, you don't want to get paranoid about the whole betrayal thing, and start looking at friends, family, and colleagues as future enemies. That's the one thing Jesus DIDN'T do. He probably knew he was going to get betrayed...I mean, he would have had to be the dumbest person in the history of world to think someone wasn't going to tell on him. But he didn't go around not making new friends, not helping people, or closing off his access and boundaries so people couldn't hurt him. Jesus embraced his eventual betrayal.

That's why he could be so cavalier at the last supper about Judas sneaking off to betray him. He knew it was going to happen someday, why not on Passover? Why not by Judas? (I mean, he'd proven himself trustworthy, and at least Jesus knew he wouldn't botch it up. If you're going to do it, do it well. Right, Brutus?)

So you're probably going to get betrayed someday. Are you ready for it? Are you going to keep risking relationships, even though you know one of them will betray you down the road? Are you going to keep opening up your arms to let people in, or are you going to cross them and keep people out?

That's one of the great visual teaching moments of Jesus' death. His arms outstretched on the cross, as if he's embracing the universe, embracing his friends, embracing his enemies, embracing his betrayal. Jesus never stopped loving and opening his life to people just because he might get betrayed. Rather, even at the end he was reaching out, opening up, and letting new people, new experiences, new universes into his life. Love that doesn't stop because of betrayal...we call that God's love, Jesus love.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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