Then all the disciples left him and fled.
-- Matthew 26:56
Who is this stranger whom I hardly know,
(despite his presence within me) who cannot
be kept decently silent and unseen
(Lord, I still feel my muscles, tight from running),
with whom I must be reconciled
before I sleep? This unwelcome
intruder who is my self
must be forgiven and accepted
and somehow loved. You have forgiven me,
with your unexpected presence among us.
But even in my joy I know I betrayed you
and must forever know that this coward, too,
is as much me as the loyal disciple I thought to be.
This stranger who is most of me is still
my Lord's failed friend, but friend nevertheless,
and in the friend I now must find, before I sleep,
His image, and His love.
-- Madeleine L'Engle, The Ordering of Love
Prayer: Forgive us, Lord Jesus, for we have betrayed and abandoned you. Find us once more, so that we may find your image in us. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may live in love, your way of victory and your power unleashed in the world. Amen.
Hope Morgan Ward is the resident bishop of the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church.