Lately writing Morning Reflections has been challenging. I have felt distracted, stretched too thin, working a couple different part-time jobs in different locations, trying to piece together my life, and still trying to have a life. Prayer time seems elusive.
It has made these 1 Kings’ readings all the more difficult, because the struggle of everyday life is knee-deep there too. Today we continue the theme of Solomon’s wisdom. A dramatic representation of his wisdom comes in the battle over two infants. One is dead, the other is alive. “No, this one is mine.” The two mothers fight over the live boy.
Solomon is crafty. He orders a servant to bring him a sword. Then he orders the live boy be cut in half. (OK, my problems are nothing like this! Lordy!) The true mother of the alive boy becomes easy to spot, “Please, my lord, give her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!” The other said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it.” King Solomon responded: “Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is the mother.”
In our New Testament reading, Jesus celebrates the Passover with his disciples. The one who betrays him “is the one who is dipping his bread into the bowl with me.” Jesus declares that it would have been better for that one not to have been born. What a struggle.
I can’t imagine receiving that kind of curse. Being told it would have been better to not have been born! Yikes. At first Jesus declared that the one who will betray him was in the room eating with him. Naturally they became distressed and began to say to him, “Surely, not I?”
Most of us have grown up with this sense of the Lord’s Supper. The way I envision it Judas knows what he is about to do. I always imagined Jesus talking about the betrayer and thinking about Judas’ eyes dilating, with him thinking, “Oh man, he knows about me! I gotta sneak out of here!”
But Mark’s version seems to imply otherwise. Judas, perhaps, did not know. Mark implies that Judas too asked, “Surely, not I?” And if he would have known he was up to no good, why would he have dipped his bread. I’m sure you have surprised yourself more than once thinking, “Did I really just do that?” Perhaps that was said as he was dipping. But that certainly gives credence to the fact that he was still at the table and with Jesus. He didn’t freak out by the earlier betrayal discussion and sneak out the back door.
Both passages today are talking about the difficulty with following the right path. Getting on the right path, it appears, is not something we can do on our own. We struggle with our sin. We need God’s wisdom and God’s blessing in order to continue.
The good news is, we have God’s blessing already! We just must be continually reminded of it! May the distractions of your life fade away, and the wisdom of God take its place.