Mark 14:18

and when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “I tell you that one of you is going to betray me – one who is eating with me.”


one by one
betrayals add up
its been going on
since immemorial time
first dawned
into consciousness

It has happened
in dream time
with and without
volition or thought
to one’s face
struck from behind

this is not good news
but it is not new news
it is not even news at all
it can be announced
at every meal or breath

betrayal is not new
it is also not the end
of this or any story
revenge can hang on it
forgiveness grow delicious
repeated one more time


While reclining and eating in the manner of the time and place, an uncomfortable topic has arisen. Every breath is held to see what will transpire. A pause extends too long.

Is this sort of cutting to the chase, going to the root, a continuation of a hospitality motif that has been seen along the way or a winnowing of degrees of assurance?

Why wait until the middle of a meal to raise the question of betrayal? Might it be constituent of every Eucharist since and without its acknowledgement we can’t move ahead? This future betrayal that will be happening is different than a confession of brokenness that has occurred up to this point.

Back in 3:19 betrayal was mentioned in the listing of disciples. There it was identified in one of them. The mechanism of that betrayal was noted earlier in this chapter.

Here we have a more generic assurance that we can’t measure one betrayal against another. This is not a zero-sum game that if Judas is a betrayer, then, obviously, I am not. This is basically an announcement that betrayal is going to happen and it is intersectional. Everyone will serve somebody (listen to your Dylan) and, in so doing, will betray somebody else.

Betrayal happens in evening darkening and in morning lightening. Betrayal is an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible greed. Left unaddressed, betrayal takes on increasing compulsion that goes beyond consciousness or volition. Until we talk about betrayal we won’t be able to talk publicly about politics, money, or sex. Until betrayal is acknowledged we won’t know mercy’s assurance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.