+ You knew your hour had come, Lord, when you
asked us all to share with you in one last meal.
So, in the room we gathered – innocent
of what it was you wanted us to know
about your passing – soon to be achieved.
+ How soon, not one of us had even guessed
until, in solemn ritual, you made it plain
that what we were about to share was more
than just the common loaf and cup you blest –
no less than resurrection from the dead!
+ But first, by sign and symbol you proclaimed
your Father’s will in making bread and wine
a sacrament – an essence of yourself –
to be surrendered, shortly, on the Cross;
uniquely, to redeem the world from death.
+ And then, as if to drive the lesson home –
about our need to practise servanthood –
your stooped to wash our feet, though Peter stood
in protest at this seeming blasphemy,
until your quiet word had cautioned him.
+ Then, when the meal was eaten, Judas left
to do what he determined was for best.
If only we had known his purpose to
betray you, his departure we’d delay,
not knowing yet that he would rue the day.
+ Our hearts were full of love for you that night,
unwary of the drama that would be
unravelled in Gethsemane, near dawn;
when, tired and weary, we would fall asleep,
while you, with God, your fateful tryst would keep.
+ Then came the Roman soldiers to arrest
you, Jesus, and our hearts were stricken sore –
to think that one of us had been the cause
of your betrayal to the Temple priests,
through whose authority you now were bound.
+ And then we followed you to Herod’s court
where Pontius Pilate washed his hands of you.
And after you refused to fight your cause:
committed you to crucifixion’s thrall –
Saviour and victim, sacrificed for all.
+ Your Blessed Mother Mary, and our John,
were with you to console you to the end.
While we, the rest of your disciples, fled –
afraid of what might happen if we stayed –
to share the price you knew that must be paid
Father Ron Smith (The Collection of N.Z. Poetry & Prose: Media Publishers Ltd. 2001)