Our last devotional this Lenten season is written by several members of the student organization, Disciples on Campus, better known as “DOC.” DOC is an open and affirming student group that welcomes all to come and be part of this community just as they are – God’s beloved created in God’s own image just as they are. Although DOC is open to all students regardless of religious tradition, DOC is rooted in The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the denomination that founded TCU. May their words stay with you this Maundy Thursday as we all anticipate the joy of Easter that is surely coming….
Reading: Mark 14: 17-20, 23-25, 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…” While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. ”
Reflection: This holy week, four of us traveled to Jarvis Christian College, which is the sister HBCU to TCU. We met with a group of students from Jarvis and had fruitful and intentional conversations about systemic racism in our society and how to go forward doing anti-racist work.
This conversation was long awaited and long needed, and we have been eagerly preparing to have these conversations about white complacency and fragility. We read the book White Fragility by Robin DeAngelo in preparation and spent time reflecting and realizing how our own white fragility and racist tendencies play out in our day to day lives. Our manifestations of white fragility are mirrored by Jesus’s disciples in the scripture. As white people, whenever racism is brought up, or our own racist tendencies are brought to life, we want to respond as Jesus’s disciples did to the admittance of betrayal – “surely, you don’t mean me.” But it is our responsibility to realize our own privileges and to realize our own complacency in the systems of systemic racism that plague our country today, because without that very realization there is no way forward. Without that realization, conversations like the one that took place between Jarvis and TCU students couldn’t happen. Without that realization, the boundless and endless love that Jesus urged us to show cannot have a place on this earth.
These conversations surrounding racism and white complacency require immense amounts of vulnerability, but then again, was it not immense vulnerability that defined Jesus’s very interactions with his disciples on this Maundy Thursday ages ago? Jesus showed up to the table. Jesus was honest about his experiences of pain and suffering. Jesus was vulnerable by naming that he was to be betrayed. We also must have this vulnerability to name our shortcomings when we come to the table. We must have the vulnerability to show our full selves and have the humility to truly listen when engaging in authentic anti-racist conversation.
When we have these hard and difficult conversations together as children of God, we must still find space to break bread together. At Jarvis Christian College, we broke bread with the fellow students and loved and laughed together. Jesus, after naming his vulnerability at the table with his disciples, broke bread in an act of love and acceptance. By breaking bread together, we are able to come together and be loved authentically.
Jesus finished the supper with his disciples by evoking the kindom of God as he sees it. This kindom of God cannot and will not ever exist as long as racism and white complacency exist. To create this kindom of God, we must spread and live out the true and authentic love that Jesus modeled for us. This love is showing up. This love is listening. This love is making space for all voices to be heard. This love is holding ourselves accountable.
I will end with a quote by Cornell West, “You can’t lead the people without loving the people.”
Let Us Pray:
Holy God, call us to be better, call us to do better. Challenge always us to show up, to listen, and to make space just as you did. On this Maundy Thursday, remind us there is always room at your table for everyone. Give us the insight to always know your table is full; may we be the ones who bring in more chairs. Each time we break bread in your name, remind us to be vulnerable, be authentic, and to always ask ourselves what would you do. Then, Lord, give us the strength to do just that. We know one day your kindom will come, and until then, keep calling us to share your love, and lead in your name. Amen.