Maundy Thursday—Year A—April 17, 2014
Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham
Let the words of my mouth and the mediations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, our strength and redeemer. Amen.
Jesus is kind of bossy in tonight’s texts:
- Paul reminds us that he said:
- “Do this in remembrance of me”
- And we hear in John’s Gospel:
- “Wash one another’s feet”
- “Love one another”
Here he does tell stories to help us understand, for time is short, now it is the time for declarations. Even though Jesus does not say: “YOU MUST”, he also does not say: “PLEASE take and eat” or “DON’T YOU WANT to take and drink?” or “TRY NOT TO FORGET to love one another.” I do not hear these as suggestions or just some advice, but as expectations with the full power of a command.
But these are not commands like when our parents tell us to eat our vegetables or clean our rooms. They are not things are not particularly fun to do but we have to do them because we were told. There is more to them.
And if you think about it–the one really summarizes them all–Love one another.
There are a multitude of commandments in the Old Testament, but God & Moses boil them down to 10, and then Jesus boils them down to 2, which really I see as two halves of one–LOVE!
It is true, loving one another is for our own good–it builds up community, it makes life better–but it is also so much more.
We hear all the time–love another as you love yourself or treat someone else as you want to be treated–but we are not always so nice and loving to ourselves, so Jesus sets an even higher bar–love as he loved–a love of servanthood not Lord-hood.
By stooping in the place of the normally unseen slave, as he washes feet, he enacts love.
By sharing the bread and wine–his body and blood–he embeds love in our memories.
By dying on the cross, he shows the power of love–even over death.
And this is not a limited love. We didn’t read about it tonight, but Judas is still around when the feet are washed and when the meal is shared. This meal, this cleansing, this love is not just for the “insiders,” but for all!
And that is why we re-enact & re-member Jesus’ actions and commands tonight–not just to spark our memories and enliven our hearts, for by our actions, we proclaim the Lord’s death and subsequent resurrection, and all that means to the world.
As Colin, Jason, Jordan, Laila, Madison, and Sean will tell you–there is a place for you in God’s kingdom & at God’s table. Come, share, re-member, and experience God’s love–so that we might share it with the world. Amen.