SOME THOUGHTS FOR MAUNDY THURSDAY
by Pastor Keith
This service that includes the washing of feet and the stripping of the altar.
We do not "act out" or "demonstrate" the washing of feet.
It is not done "symbolically" here.
We do it.
Feet are washed.
We have two chairs and two basins and a bunch of white fluffy towels.
We will wash feet (for those who desire to participate).
Socks or sandals - no stockings, please.
We will wash feet.
That's the collective "we."
You start in the chair with someone washing your feet and then when they are done, they hand you the towel and then you wash the next person's feet and so on.
We will wash feet.
During supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord" and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
So, what was Jesus trying to do here?
Did the disciples' feet stink so bad that Jesus took matters into his own hands?
Was the lowest of the slaves of the house off that night bowling or watching Dancing with the Stars and so Jesus had to step in and lend a hand?
Did Jesus lose a bet?
Was he raising money for charity?
Was he a cleanliness freak?
In John's Gospel (the only one that records the washing of feet) the night of the last supper is about Jesus' final teaching, his prayer, and the washing of feet. And with the washing of feet comes the New Commandment:
Maundy = Mandatum = Latin for New Commandment
We do not call it "Last Supper Thursday"
The Last Picture Show
The Last Kiss.
The Last Betrayal
The Last Bath
We call it “Maundy Thursday.”
The Thursday of the New Commandment.
Of course, there's eating, but it is a much different "last supper" than you or I are used to. Jesus dips some bread in wine and gives it to the one who was to betray him. Judas gets it and then leaves the scene.
He takes the bread with him. Judas.
The story indicates that there is a meal, but we get no further description of it.
What we do get is well over a dozen verses about the washing of feet.
And a New Commandment.
Love one another.
As Jesus has loved us, we are to love one another.
That's how people will know that we are Jesus' disciples: We love one another.
What does that love look like?
If we were going to paint a picture of that love – they say a picture is worth a thousand words - what would that picture look like?
That picture of love – the love of Jesus?
It could look like the Son of God kneeling at each disciple, holding 12 pairs of dirty feet, one after the other, in his hands, pouring water upon them and drying them with a towel. Mary, sister of Lazarus, had used her hair, Jesus we understand did not see this as a viable option for him.
Let’s put that picture in our Mind – Jesus kneeling beside each disciple – their dirty feet in his hands, pouring water on them and drying them with a towel.
That is the paradigm - the picture we commit to memory - the act from which all of our acts of love are given birth - the mother of all of our love for one another: Jesus on his knees holding a pair of dirty feet and gently splashing the water and drying with a towel.
What’s the perfect picture of the love that Jesus’ bears for us?
On Thursday it will be Jesus washing feet. Tomorrow it will be Jesus hanging on the cross.
Love one another, Jesus tells us. Wash one another’s feet.
Hold feet in your hand. Be humble. Serve. Give. Care. Love.
It's so often the little things:
Those people who during the sharing of the peace go first to complete strangers - those people who invite those strangers to coffee hour and actually talk with them.
The people who make time for the questions of children, especially the ones about God.
People whose own "internal radar" seeks out the lost, the hurting, the broken, the unlovable and see Christ in them. The people who seek to dwell daily in the love of Christ - the waters of life filling them, enriching them, blessing them to be a blessing for others. People willing to touch the "untouchables."
“Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”