Saturday, March 26, 2016

Maundy Thursday- To Love as Jesus Loved

Gospel: John 13:1-17, 31b-35
1Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then 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. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.”11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12After 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? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

31b“Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Maundy Thursday, March 24, 2016
Tonight we gather for Maundy Thursday, from the Latin word mandatum- commandment. It is the night we remember the new commandment Jesus gave to his friends and companions. Jesus said, “love one another, as I have loved you.”
To love is at once simple and complex. A young child is capable of love, but only if he or she receives love. It is not innate, not something with which we are born; rather, the human capacity to love is shaped by the love we receive or not. If a child has someone who loves them, their brains respond and grow. If they don’t, their ability to love is diminished, their ability to connect is stunted.
Yet love is a uniquely human experience, defining who we are as people. Without love, we are more likely to be angry, disconnected, forlorn, unknown, and unknowable. Love is the basis of human relationship, the building blocks of connectedness and community. It is something we crave and long for: to be loved and accepted and known.
Jesus commands, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” How was it that Jesus loved? He loved unconditionally and without end. He loved with humility. He loved in action and in word.
So often, we try to earn love, yet the love that Jesus gave was given even when it was not merited or deserved, even when the person he beheld was at their worst. When the rich young man could not give up his wealth, Jesus looked at him with love. When Judas betrayed Jesus, he had been at table with Jesus, a sign of love and belonging in that culture. Jesus loved those who were rejected, those who had done wrong. He loved the tax collector, the prostitute, the Pharisee, the sinner, the leper, and the foreigner. Jesus loved when others rejected. His love knew no bounds, and it broke divisions.
What does this mean for us today as inheritors of this commandment to love? In this time, when our culture is divided, when fear of the other threatens to override neighborliness, Jesus’ love is needed more than ever. We are agents of Jesus’ love. Let us be bold as we follow in his footsteps. Amen.

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