Father, may these spoken words be faithful to the written word and lead us to the living word, Jesus Christ our Lord
Today it is Maundy Thursday, when we remember one of the most powerful and challenging lessons that Jesus set for us, the washing the feet of his disciples to show them how they are to serve others and how to serve each other.
The word “maundy” comes from a Latin word mandatum. Which means mandate or commandment. Tonight we remember the commandments set out for us to do as Christ’s disciples. We will re-enact the symbol of peaceful, humble, patient love that Jesus showed to his disciples by washing their feet. We will share in the last supper, and we will remember how Jesus commands us to use love to break down boundaries and barriers for all.
I’d like to think about what we do when one of our friends is in need? What do we do?
I don’t think that going around to wash their feet would be one of the top choices to do.
Nowadays if we have a friend who needs support or a listening ear, we would invite them round, put the kettle on, maybe offer a biscuit. These simple acts of hospitality and love not only say that we are interested in that person but that we love and care for them.
This is exactly what Jesus was doing for his disciples. By washing their feet he showed them hospitality, he showed them love, and he showed them what service really means. By being their leader and then serving them by washing their feet, Jesus opened their eyes with his humble love.
But it can be hard to receive such an act of humble love, Peter certainly felt that he couldn’t possibly let Jesus wash his feet. “You shall never wash my feet” he says.
However, many of us may feel the same when it comes to people offering us help, perhaps we answer too quickly when help is offered, perhaps we don’t want to raise a suggestion that we can’t cope, or that it may show weakness to accept help. “I can do this myself” “no I’ll be fine” “no I don’t need your help” “honestly I’ll be fine”
In fact we all need our feet washing and we need to be a church that is willing to wash feet. We need to let our barriers down and let ourselves be served to so we can serve to others. This is what Jesus was doing as he washed the feet of his disciples, he was breaking down barriers with love, his never ending love, the peaceful patient grace of our lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus says at the end of the foot washing,
“I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”
By serving each other we are channeling the love of Jesus through ourselves. Every time we show love to others we are bringing the light of Christ with us, that light which brightens the darkest of situations.
On this night, when Jesus knew he was about to be betrayed, when he knew that this would be his last supper with his friends, he still showed love.
This is what we remember tonight, that love is an important commandment of Jesus, that we remember that Jesus is our friend and he longs to sit with us and wash our feet, so we in turn can have the love to wash others.
We remember that we are Jesus’s friends. By following his commandments, his mandate of love, we show everyone we meet that he is in us and we, following his lead are in him.
“Everyone will know that you are my disciples , if you have love for one another.”