a prayer to be placed right after the part of the reading where the disciples ask if they are the one to betray, and Jesus answers Judas with “you have said so.”
Surely not I, Lord? Surely not us? Surely not.
Surely I am not the one who will betray you.
Surely we are not the ones.
It’s someone else who denies knowing you,
someone else who uses you for their own gain,
someone else who wants to control you.
Surely not us.
For the times when we protest too much…
For the times we point fingers to cover up our own wrong…
For the times we think of ourselves more highly than we ought…
For the times we have betrayed you with our words—
hurting someone to get a laugh,
denying that your call extends to the parts of our lives we would rather keep to ourselves…
For the times we have betrayed you with our actions—
living as if you are confined to the sanctuary, leaving us free when we are not here,
acting as if we have ben given domination over, rather than stewardship of, your creation,
walking away from those in need, literally and politically…
For the times we have betrayed you with our hearts—
putting you far down our priority lists,
loving our ideas about you more than we love you,
longing for our way to be the one you choose…
For the times we have lived contrary to our baptism,
dipping our hand in the bowl but keeping our whole selves out,
believing we can earn grace…and that they should work for it too,
Surely not I, Lord?
You have said so.
The truth rings in our ears…and it hurts, O God,
to admit it: it is us.
We follow other gods, we are a poor reflection of your glory,
we use our wealth, status, and power in ways contrary to your will,
we imprison you in our understanding of your word,
we refuse to create justice or to love mercy,
and walking humbly with you would mean letting go of our way.
The truth hurts us, Lord, even as we hear you say: you have said so.
And yet we believe—
we believe that you have the power to transform us and through us to transform the world.
We believe that your grace is enough.
We believe that we have received more love than we can imagine.
We believe that you are the Way, the Life, and the Truth—
the truth that sets us free.
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL