O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
True and humble king,
hailed by the crowd as Messiah:
grant us the faith to know you and love you,
that we may be found beside you
on the way of the cross,
which is the path of glory.
O God, make speed to save me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Let those who seek my life
be put to shame and confusion;
let them be turned back and disgraced
who wish me evil.
Let those who mock and deride me
turn back because of their shame.
But let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
let those who love your salvation say always, ‘Great is the Lord!’
As for me, I am poor and needy;
come to me quickly, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O Lord, do not delay.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples – the one whom Jesus loved – was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.’
Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’
Have you ever experienced the betrayal of someone close to you? Have you ever been the one who betrayed the trust and confidence of another? These are very challenging questions, and they are ones that have a special relevance today.
When we form a close attachment to someone we go on a journey that involves us in the process of making ourselves increasingly vulnerable. Layer by layer we allow someone to get closer and closer as we let them into the secrets of our inner thoughts and our most intimate experiences. We give that person unfettered access to information that is so privileged that it may not be shared by any other person in the world. We allow that person to know us in a way that is only shared by God. But, how do we feel, how do we cope, if that level of trust and confidence is then betrayed? How do we feel, how do we cope, when we find that our innermost secrets have been used as a weapon against us? How do we feel when we have been betrayed by our closest friend?
As historians and documentary makers look back on the way our country journeyed through the twentieth century, there are often references to the names of Burgess, Maclean, Philby and Blunt. We do not need much more explanation than the statement of their names. Their heinous crime was one of betrayal. They betrayed the secrets of our country in a way that undermined our national security and cost the lives of those working to make our lives safe. Out of the many, many notable lives that were lived in the course of those one hundred years these four names stand out because of the nature of their crime. They were traitors; they betrayed the trust that had been invested in them; they callously set aside the confidence of others to further their own agenda. Just like Judas!
We can be sure that Judas had constructed a convincing argument for his actions in the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. He had undoubtedly created a whole story to justify his betrayal of his teacher, friend and Messiah. But that justification was based on human wisdom alone. Judas had seen the signs and heard the teaching, and yet he took the decision to betray. We face the same temptation on many occasions in our lives. We may not be a Burgess, Maclean, Philby or Blunt but every time we let someone down we are betraying them; we are causing hurt and pain; we may even be creating the agony of crucifixion!
Let us pray that God will keep us constant in our faith in him, and in the faith we have in each other. Let us pray that we might not join the register of those who will only be known for their lack of faith.
Prayers of intercession
In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.
Lord, your Son persevered and endured the cross for our redemption. As we prepare to commemorate again the events of his saving passion, keep your Church steadfast in its faith. Preserve us, Lord, from losing heart.
Lord, your Son knew the darkness at work in Judas’ heart. Forgive the sins that will betray and condemn some for others’ gain. Draw us back from taking pleasure in the misfortunes of any.
Lord, your Son shared table fellowship with his friends and those closest to him. Draw us closer to one another and to you as we break bread together. Restore us in your image, O God.
Lord, your Son was troubled in spirit and knew the anguish of facing human mortality. Be with all who cry to you and make haste to help them. Sustain us, O Lord, with your Word of life.
Lord, your Son proclaimed your glory in the face of death. Deliver us at the hour of our death. Bring us to say ‘Great is the Lord’.
We pray in the name of Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
Prayer for Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week
Father in heaven,
as your people prepare once more
to follow the events of Good Friday and Easter,
may we be led by your Spirit to deeper insights
into your love and saving grace;
that we may love you more and serve you better,
for the sake of him who died for us and rose again,
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.