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Advent Meditations: Friday, December 14

By Hope Benko

Psalm 31, 35  •  Isaiah 7:10–25  •  Luke 22:14–30

Join this table, if you dare. Watch Jesus gather his friends, lean in with them as he says, “before I suffer” and “I will not eat again, I will not drink again.” Join in wondering. Share a bit of the bread divided, drink from the cup when it is passed to you. Can you smell the bread and the wine? Taste the wheat dissolving on your tongue. Can you feel the hand of the one next to you as the plate and cup are passed one to another?

In this season of waiting, pausing here on this night’s meal is a bit like flying alongside the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come with Scrooge. And what we find here is as unsettling as the classic Dickens vision: the future pain and death of the baby we are waiting for, and his friends so caught up in their own glory that they nearly miss it. I want to linger at the manger, not here at this table so close to the cross. But here we are called, and each Christian table, in every season – Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter – finds its deepest meaning at this table. And here the host and servant of all reminds us, again and again, that in sharing this feast, we are also compelled to share in his ministry, to become like the youngest and the one who serves. Linger here a little longer, and then return to your waiting with new eyes to see the one who is coming into the world.

Make us ready, Lord Christ, to share your table, so that we may be fortified not to be served but to serve as he calls us.

The Rev. Hope Benko
Director of Enrollment Management and Admissions
Seminary of the Southwest

Listen to Hope read her meditation and prayer:


The Rev. Hope Benko is director of enrollment management and admissions for Seminary of the Southwest. In this role, she also administers several student services, including financial aid, both internal grants and federal student loans, on-campus housing, and the seminary’s on-campus (work-study) employment program. Hope was ordained in the Diocese of Missouri in 2006. Before coming to Southwest, she served in parishes in the dioceses of Missouri and Western Louisiana and as a school chaplain in the Diocese of Fort Worth. A lifelong Episcopalian, she relishes building relationships throughout the wider church to welcome new students to our community.  She is a graduate of Stephens College and of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. Hope is married to the The Rev. Dr. Andrew Benko, and together they are have two children and a labradoodle.

The Advent Meditations and Prayers are a gift to our seminary community and are made possible through gifts to our Annual Fund. Seminary of the Southwest appreciates the support of its friends, alumni, and the communities around the world that its graduates serve for the glory of God. This support ensures that Southwest, as an institution made of individuals dedicated to service to God and their fellow members of the body of Christ, can continue doing its part to build the body of Christ.


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