At the Same Table


By Stephanie Evelyn McKellar

Read Matthew 26:20-30

At the same table
Jesus sits and dines
Takes bread and wine
With one(s)
He knows,
betray(s) him.
And yet
He stays
And prays
lets the road ahead,
like this dinner with broken bread,

Read Matthew 26:47-50

Jesus receives
The one who deceives;
Judas offers a kiss,
becomes one who will miss
the Christic gift of Heaven before him.

How do we include those who have betrayed us or our community?
What is the line between living in forgiveness and having healthy boundaries?

Do not hear me say
We need to sit (near) and stay (with)
the one who betrays us,
As Jesus does with Judas.

When it comes to us
I do not possess a quick or simple answer
For how to include
And not exclude
One no longer trustworthy to honor your pearls.
I can only invite us
To reflect on our own
Beautiful, broken, resilient, wounded, healing
To reflect on our own
To put down that stone
To wait just a minute
Try to attune to the frequency of God with us.
Let it transform us
Inform us
Adorn us
With a view of the humanity within us.
From there
I hear Jesus say
my needs are worth protecting
Even as another is
never worth rejecting.
To realize that s/he
Betrays also their own
Worthwhile & wounded humanity.

May I remember
the injuries we cause
Stem from woundedness
Not yet faced
with God’s abundant, everflowing grace.
I have healing yet to chase
Work to embrace
Our ever-worthwhile selves.

May I invite myself to
hold my wounds trustworthily
honor my boundaries without apology,
Acknowledge my humanity and
need for healthy sanity.
And, to acknowledge
The same broken and beautiful,
Flawed and fragile
Humanity of the one who betrays me.
For we are all walking wounded.

May our forgiveness come
With embrace of our limits

May we release those who injure us
Back into their humanity
To God’s trusted hand
Even if it means
We need to be
As far away as possible
At opposite ends of the kin-dom table.
Far enough away
To not get hit
I do not have to sit
In the same area
Or zip code
Or state
As the one who can no longer be trusted
With my dear and precious life.
Maybe being released
Into the loving spaces we need
Means those are forever separate
that protect our individual healing.

For God still holds the story
(and I no longer have to)
of someone with whom
I can no longer walk and talk and engage.
While I take all my needed healthy space
I can lean into grace
trust in our God
who gives all their place
at the abundant and lengthy table.
That is
Big enough
For both of us
All of us
Each of us
For every
Of us
To be safely and securely separate
And yet still be
At the same

And, what of love?
After necessity of boundaries
What of the seasons
That follow
That hold hope for reconciliation with our whole selves?
What could be lost
in the distance of far-away table spaces
What of integration
of my whole self
that loved
That walked with
That knew and was known by that Judas?

When does safety become running away
From what may be turned and faced
An old forgotten part of me
That loved and knew,
What of the Jesus who receives that painful kiss?
What of his love that persists
And risks?

At the same table
We sit and we pray
And hold hope
That the work of God
Never gives up
On moving us towards our greatest, deepest, courageous, healthy

20 That evening he took his place at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 As they were eating he said, “I assure you that one of you will betray me.”
25 Now Judas, who would betray him, replied, “It’s not me, is it, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “You said it.”
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” 27 He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven.

30 Then, after singing songs of praise, they went to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:20-30)
47 While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came. With him was a large crowd carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “Arrest the man I kiss.” Just then he came to Jesus and said, “Hello, Rabbi.” Then he kissed him.
But Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him. (Matthew 26:47-50)