It’s almost clichéd for spiritual writing to ask you to step back and savor the moments of your life. God is eternal, we’re reminded, and there’s value in taking it slow.
The readings today are not like that: Jesus would like Judas to get on with it: “What you are about to do, do quickly.” The letter to the Hebrews asks them to run in a race—and to let go of baggage that will slow them down. Some translations of Psalm 70 echo the King James Version’s “make haste” and end up a little mealy-mouthed, but the Common English Bible is more direct: “Hurry, God, to deliver me; hurry, Lord, to help me!”
Jesus is enjoying a supper that is, so far, rather ordinary (impromptu foot washing being well within the scope of his zany ideas). For all the other disciples know, Judas ran out to get groceries.
What’s the hurry? Jesus had spent less than a week in the city. Wouldn’t he want to cherish time with his friends? Couldn’t he have taught and healed so many more with a few extra days? Why didn’t he tell Judas, “Can we make it Wednesday? My schedule is wide open.”
I feel that, this week, we know the reason all too well. It’s hard to live under threat, day in, day out. It’s unsettling to have to rely on shifting, panicked actions of other humans. It’s heartbreaking to know loved ones are dying even as you can’t see them.
None of us want to bring about pain and suffering, but it’s reasonable to want to cut out the dread. “What you’re about to do, do quickly.” When spoken with faith in God’s love, it’s not merely stoic; it’s hopeful.
I don’t think it’s an accident that the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer is to bring in God’s kingdom. More than bread, more than forgiveness, more than protection, we ask God to hurry.
Aside from the guy who ran a marathon in his backyard, nobody is running a literal race right now. We can, however, leave baggage and sin aside and face what comes ahead of us. We can run through what we need to do, and toward the promise of eternal life, knowing we have a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on.
And, as we do all that, we can certainly ask God to hurry.
Appointed readings for today: