by Jenifer Hartman
During Holy Week we focus on the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Maundy Thursday is my favorite service of the year, focused on Jesus’ last supper and intimate time with His disciples. Mark 14:17-45 describes those last moments together and the ones in which Jesus predicts the different disciple’s betrayals. I try to imagine what Jesus must have felt, knowing they would deny him. As humans, we are sure to disappoint, and be disappointed by others. He knew this.
The disciple’s actions are in sharp contrast to God’s faithfulness to each of us. Throughout scripture, God tells us not to worry, that He will always be with us. Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, not things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I spent the last year in Kenya as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at Kenya Methodist University in Meru. When I arrived in Kenya August 2021, I didn’t know anyone in Kenya – in Nairobi where I landed, or at the university, or in the Meru community. Every morning I would walk across campus to the soccer field to exercise. It was my devotional time and I had such a strong sense of God’s presence with me, even though I was by myself in a strange place halfway across the world. I developed lifelong friendships with my colleagues there and it was a life-changing experience. The students called me ‘The Mzungu (white person) Who Walks Alone’. It was not a pejorative term – just descriptive. But I was never alone because He was always right there with me. Most evenings I reread Psalm 139 and wondered at verses 17-18, “How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with Thee.” An amazing thought! God is ever-faithful to be by my side at every moment, no matter where I am.
Reflection: How does God’s faithfulness and love change you and how you experience life? What are the ways you express gratitude for this great gift?