PENNSYLVANIA SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE
OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Emanuel
United Church of Christ

2628 Fillmore Street, Philadelphia, PA  19137
"A Warm, Welcoming Church in the Heart of Bridesburg"
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Dear Friends -

“ When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.’ They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, ‘Surely, not I?’ He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’
Mark 14:12-25


We’re told that Jesus with his disciples gathered for the Passover, the festival celebrating liberation from slavery in Egypt. Jesus broke the mood of the meal with the words, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me, one of the Twelve, one who is dipping bread in the bowl with me.” Of course, they all denied any intent to betray him. Then Jesus said the words instituting a covenant with his disciples: “While they were eating, [Jesus] took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” In effect, his disciples took a blood oath to remember him in this way, by breaking bread and sharing wine together.

When they had finished eating, Jesus led them to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus told them that they would all desert him – but that after he was raised up, he would go ahead of them to Galilee. Of course, all denied that they would ever desert him, Peter most strongly. Of course, after Judas had betrayed Jesus, we read, “All of them deserted him and fled.”

The words of institution in our communion service begin, “The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread…..” On the very same night of betrayal and desertion, Jesus shared final meal and made a covenant with his disciples, knowing one of them would betray him, knowing all of them would desert him. Even knowing all that would come, Jesus still said, “But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” The disciples abandoned Jesus, but Jesus would not and did not abandon them – nor does he abandon us, despite our many denials and betrayals. Jesus goes ahead to meet us when we return from our sins and failings. As those called to walk in the way of Jesus, may we extend the same grace to one another and our neighbors in Jesus' name.

See you in church!

Pastor Dave





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