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Naming the Problem

Today’s Reflection

AFTER THEY HAVE taken their places and are eating, what are the first words that we hear Jesus say? He says, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” He added, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me.” Isn’t this startling? What a way to start a dinner party! The first words of Jesus, at his final dinner with his disciples, name the conflict that is the elephant in the room. Judas is going to betray Jesus.
. . .
There is nothing Pollyannaish or sentimental or individualistic or pietistic about this meal. The meal is not privatized or spiritualized. There is nothing here that is romantic or escapist. This is the real world, with real and deep conflict. So, here Jesus sits at his last supper, under the shadow of the cross with the man who would betray him and the eleven others who will desert him. Does that sound like conflict to you? And Jesus named it. Justice requires the naming. Truth requires the naming. As important, transformation requires the naming. What is unnamed lies just beneath the surface. It often develops dis-ease. It gets worse until it explodes in very destructive ways. You must name it to heal it.

—Thomas W. Porter
“The Last Supper: Naming the Conflicts and Giving Bread and Wine,” Conflict and Communion: Reconciliation and Restorative Justice at Christ’s Table

From pages 19-20 of Conflict and Communion: Reconciliation and Restorative Justice at Christ’s Table edited by Thomas Porter. Copyright © 2006 by Discipleship Resources, an imprint of Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Have you experienced a time when naming a problem or conflict helped lead to healing and forgiveness?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me.
—Mark 14:17-20, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

God of forgiveness, help me forgive. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

A special invitation to the Daily Reflections family: Upper Room Books is offering a 15% discount on books purchased from The Upper Room Bookstore during the month of April. Use promo code APRIL15 when you make your purchase at bookstore.upperroom.org. Offer excludes packages and non-discountable items.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Jill April 10, 2019, 5:14 am

    Several years ago, when speaking with my friend who has had such a significant impact on my spiritual development – she talked about how wretched she was. At that point in my walk (crawl) – I, of course, knew I was a sinner. But had never considered my wretchedness. Another friend who had companioned me through my teen years – spoke of the verse from Jeremiah 17 – “the heart is deceitful above all things” – and for a very long time, I never “got it”.
    But, oh yes, the darkness of my heart. The desire to be mindful, to guard my heart and mind – the devil is so ready to strike, to run rampant.
    Even through these past weeks – to cry out to God – how weak my heart is. With what desperation I wanted mom’s struggle to cease. A desperation far greater than desiring His Will be done. I just kept crying to Him – I know I am pleading for relief for mom. Take my mustard size faith and trust and increase it. I want to want You most. But, right here, in the midst of chaos – I sought immediate relief, instead of clinging to and trusting Him. I know He knows the weakness of my heart, the frailty of my humanity – and He remained near, sustaining my dad, my sister and I. It was hard to see His goodness at times, but His Peace, deep down inside, was always there.
    During the past week or so, each place I turned to in the Psalms had the phrase “His steadfast love”. Reading that in so many various passages carried me through the long days and nights. Yes, His love never fails, never ceases, never varies. Great is Thy Faithfulness…morning by morning new mercies I see. And will continue to see.
    Thank you all for your words, your prayers, your sentiments. All treasured.

    • L April 10, 2019, 6:33 am

      Love you more Jill! To all of the UR Family, i love and enjoy each of your comments and prayers.

    • Andrea April 10, 2019, 8:07 am

      Jill, I am sure God is very pleased with your care for your mother as she died. It was a long road. Praying for you, your father and your sister; for rest and for support in your grieving.

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 10, 2019, 8:43 am

        May God surround you and your family with His comforting love!

        Blessings!

        • Connie April 10, 2019, 10:56 am

          We are only human. God understands and gives us Grace. Love to all.

  • Julie April 10, 2019, 8:28 am

    Jill, we all long to see the suffering of those we love end. Your love for your mother is evident to God and He rejoices in your devotion to her. He understands this love and your desires as far from selfish and in keeping with His commandment to love our parents. May He sustain your family as you move forward. May He especially sustain your father who lost his life mate. The adjustments your dad will be forced to make while mourning will be many.
    Prayers for L and her kind words.
    Prayers for Andrea as she heals and she works with Lowell on strengthening their marriage.
    Prayers for April, Betsy, Edy and Bill, and Rusty, may the be blessed.
    Prayers for Connie, for physical and emotional healing.
    Prayers for Jill again as she has suffered so much recently.
    Prayers for Lou and her daughter, guide them forward Lord.
    Prayers for Mary and her mum, may her mum be out of the hospital soon and may Mary be strengthened to meet all her burdens.
    Prayers for Marcy, may she be safe and well.
    Prayers for Robert and Erich, lead them as they make plans to move, Lord. May Robert find a loving church family in his new home.
    Prayers and blessings and warm hugs dear UR family
    Thank you for your prayers and kind words.

  • robert moeller April 10, 2019, 10:00 am

    An answer to this question takes some time to reflect. I imagine that this is very true and I have done it. I need some time to remember.

    Condo inspection tomorrow, Have to be there at 10 am. Thankful progress is being made. Will be able to talk in person with the realtor as well and find out what’s next.

    Prayers for God’s peace, especially those mourning, needing healing, reconciliation and comfort. Thankful for your prayers. I have researched and
    found a church, time will tell if it is the right one. Prayers that this move does what is needed.

    The Lord be with you all as we move toward Palm Sunday.

  • Connie April 10, 2019, 11:04 am

    I am one who addresses problems and conflicts, offering what I believe is a simple solution. However, I really think I am like “a voice in the wilderness”! Hope I am wrong, as I am beginning to not care.

    “Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna to the King”

    • Andrea April 10, 2019, 1:38 pm

      It’s brave and usually not easy to be the voice in the the wilderness. Blessings.

      • Connie April 11, 2019, 8:57 am

        Thanks. Encouragement is always welcome. Blessings to you also.

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