Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Maundy Prayer

Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it.
Mark 14:23

The New Testament is a brutal destroyer of human illusions. If you follow Jesus and don't end up dead, it appears you have some explaining to do. The stark signifier of the human condition is one who spoke up for love and justice and was done to death for his pains. The traumatic truth of human history is a mutilated body.
Terry Eagleton

A Last Supper Prayer Inspired By Mark's Gospel

We acknowledge that you call ALL of your disciples to the ultimate price of social nonconformity: If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. (8:34-35)

Lord, we long to be a part of a more radical form of Christian faith. We come to this Lord’s Supper with an emphasis on "participation in Christ, not substitution by Christ."

We acknowledge that we are sick and we need the doctor—-we are enslaved by the power of sin and we long for liberation. (2:17)

Lord, liberate us from self-absorption and ego-centeredness—-free us from the idols of wealth (desire to possess), prestige (the drive to be someone) and power (the will to dominate others).

We acknowledge that Jesus came to bind the strong man, the powers-that-be that enslave humanity. (3:27)

Lord, liberate us from the economic, political and religious forces—--as well as the media—-that hold us captive—-the apathy, the trivializing commentary, our narcissism and the insatiable appetites that come from what most people might say is just "the way things are."

We acknowledge that Jesus redefined family—-our brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers are all those who pledge to do God’s will with their lives. (3:35)

Lord, transform us through the patterns of this alternative family and give us the strength, energy and discernment to do your will throughout the entire week.

We acknowledge that we live as the people of the new covenant in a culture where the seed of the gospel is cast ‘among the thorns,’ limiting it from bearing abundant fruit. (4:18)

Lord, free us from the cares of the world…the lure of wealth…the desire for other things.

We acknowledge that you fed the hungry and downtrodden by delegating your abundance mentality, through creativity and ingenuity, to your disciples, but that the hard work can only be done through Christ, not our own efforts or control. (Mark 6:41; 8:6)

Lord, saturate us with your compassion for humanity—-the world is full of sheep without a shepherd. Give us vision to give generously and abundantly to those in our own tight-knit community today, to those living in the US where real unemployment is in double-digits and to the rest of the world where a billion people live on less than $2 per day.

We acknowledge that your kingdom gives status to the vulnerable and marginalized, symbolized in the children that you not only embraced but then beckoned your disciples to do the same (Mark 10:13ff).

Lord, let us be a community that values people differently than the domination system of our culture, placing the unknown, hidden and quietly faithful ones before celebrities, political leaders and financially successful. Let us be a voice for the unborn, but also for children impoverished, abused, abandoned and neglected. Let us ponder those without status in our own culture: the elderly, the immigrant, the homosexual, the sexually abused and those who bear all the blame for the economic crisis that affects so many.

We acknowledge that your leadership model is not about bringing attention to ourselves or gaining positions of power to use it for leverage. You call us to be servants to each other and the rest of the world.

Lord, we pledge to join your procession, riding the lowly donkey, with the poor and downtrodden hoping in you to bring the world to rights. (9:35; 10:43)

We acknowledge that out of all the characters in Mark’s story about Jesus, we are most like the rich man who refused your procession because he loved his possessions too much. (10:22)

Lord, we repent and resist this entitlement and privilege of living in southern Orange County...and all over suburban pockets of the United States. Give us the perspective of the periphery so that we can see clearly that you side with those who are down-and-out and are longing for mercy.
An Alternative Last Supper Narrative?

1 comment:

  1. Convicting prayers, Tom. I think the most convicting part for me is that I often forget how I easily buy into a culture of dominance and conformity. Ingrained in me is this constant way of seeing the strong man or the power of sin merely as my personal infractions. Talk about narcissism. Evangelicalism has trained me well.

    Did you write these prayers yourself Tom?
    D Jones