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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Maundy Thursday

John 13:3-5, "Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him" (NIV).

This is always a difficult passage for me, although one of my favorites.  As it turns out, I am drawn to difficult things.  But something struck me, fresh, as I read this through tears, today.  It was because Jesus knew that all things were under his power that he chose to wash dirty feet? 

Oh, Jesus.  You never do anything we would expect.

I love Peter's interaction with Jesus in this passage.  Peter is, perhaps, the original example of awkward interaction.  I can relate to Peter.  Peter, who initially is horrified that Jesus would touch his dirty feet but then turns ridiculously passionate as understanding dawns.  "How about a shower, then, Jesus?  I think I'll take a spa day, full body wrap, massage, mani/pedi, and top it off with a facial!"

Oh, Peter.  You say everything I would expect. 

I have read this narrative hundreds of times, and yet there are these little bits and pieces of information that are striking me something like shards of glass.

Jesus proceeds to tell Peter what it is to be clean.  He even speaks to the fact that not everyone present is clean.  And then he washes all of the feet, anyway.  All of them.  Even Judas'.  This cannot be easy, but it's right.  There is only one explanation for how Jesus accomplishes this task.  We must back up just a touch to see it clearly (not that I am actually seeing anything clearly, because this story is touching me so deeply my vision is blurred...)    

John 13:1b, "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end" (NIV).

Jesus knows that Peter is a little eccentric.  He knows that James and John are a little arrogant.  He knows that Thomas is unsure.  Jesus surely knows the faults of every person in the room.  He knows that Judas is about to hand him over to death.  And yet these are Jesus' people, his own.  Jesus loves them all.  The end is near, so he grabs a towel.  Love serves.

Of course, Jesus also serves a meal on this night...

I Corinthians 11:23-26, "The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. 'In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes" (NIV).

I feel as if this night must have been exhausting.  Suddenly I have more grace for the disciples who fell asleep.  In these acts of service, in this sacrament, God is moving.  And then, God incarnate, is literally moving... to the garden... closer to the cross.  Sometimes I think the movement of God is more than we can handle, even when it is everything we need.


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