Maundy Thursday and Me

In the final week leading up to Easter, commonly known as “Passion Week” or “Holy Week”, we walk with Jesus through the final week of his life. It helps us experience both death and resurrection in deeper ways. We hope you will join us each day this week as we head toward resurrection.

If you read the events of Passion week slowly or daily, you can feel the darkness creeping. We are doing resurrection eggs with our four-year-old. At first, this seemed like an exciting idea. But as the story gets more gruesome, it becomes a lot more difficult to share with a “tiny.”

You begin to see the isolation Jesus experiences.

You begin to hear a bit of sadness in his voice, as the inevitable events slowly begin to unfold.

You begin to feel the hurt and heaviness Jesus is carrying with him.

…especially in the betrayals. Jesus has been misunderstood throughout his entire ministry. But now, even his closest friends are going to begin to reject and betray him.

It is here that we begin to see a shift in Jesus. All of the things he could hang on to in this life are slowly being stripped away. He is going to lose his “fame.” He is going to lose his friends. He is going to lose his very life. So we see him slowly move into what is a complete dependence on God.

Richard Rohr points out that in this time, Jesus is probably still unsure about what the future holds. He sees glimpses of what is to come, but each day is another step down the path. Each day something is stripped from him. And when those get stripped from him, he has to lean into God all the more.

Holy Week is the final shift from human attachments to total and utter reliance on God.

So in his loneliness and grief, he gathers his friends together. Knowing they will all desert him, and knowing one of them is the catalyst for his pending demise, he has a meal with them.

And not just any meal. A passover. A time where they eat and remember the time when God delivered them. A time when they remember the cost of new life.

This meal begins the transition from the old way of doing things into new life.

maundyBut Maundy Thursday focuses us on a particular scene. At this meal, Jesus gets up from the table, and washes his disciples feet.

Many of you probably know, but to wash someone’s feet was a slave’s job. It was a disgusting and shameful job. But it was a needed job.

Even before the cross, Jesus shows his complete dependence on God by offering a profoundly meaningful, sacrificial and humbling act for his “friends.”

His friends who misunderstand him.

His friends who reject him.

His friends who miss the point completely.

His friends who betray him.

Then he tells them, this is the mark of what it means to be a friend of Jesus. This is a practice he leaves behind so we can understand the meaning of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

This practice leaves us with a question:

Are we willing to do this?

In the midst of confusion, loneliness, hurt, stress and isolation – are we willing to do something for someone else? Are we willing to put resurrection into practice, even when we struggle?

And just who are we willing to do this for? Are we willing to bless those who misunderstand, reject, betray, and ignore us? Are we willing to set aside our differences, and bless people who are not like us, who think or believe differently than us, or who even make horrible, awful decisions?

Because when we are, we will know we are beginning to make the shift into new ways of living.

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