Today’s Gospel: John 13:1-17, 31b-35
The man was on death row, and this was his last meal with friends. He could have spent the whole night in anger, in fear. He could have saved his nastiest words for Pilate, that Governor who was more concerned with protecting his political fortunes than with the administration of justice. He could have raved against the religious establishment, so bent on preserving itself that leaders would miss God’s truth in their midst.
At table with his friends, Christ Jesus broke bread and gave us that commandment from which Maundy Thursday takes is name. “That you love one another as I have loved you.” Then he broke bread and shared supper. He poured wine and offered it to everyone, including those who would deny him, betray him or hide when the mob arrived.
And then in a gesture of deep humility he washed their feet.
Of all the stories we will tell this year, this is the one that stands out, to me, as the most moving. This is the essence of discipleship: “That you love one another as I have loved you.”
Blessings to you and to those we love as we begin to observe these three holiest days of the Christian year.
A Prayer for Maundy Thursday
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever. Amen (BCP 221).
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