Love is a Beautiful Thing: Maundy Thursday Sermon

Grace and Peace to you,

My sisters and brothers in Christ

Our lives seem as fleeting

But the Love we share,

The Love we give

The Love that we proclaim

Because of Jesus

Will live on

And on.

Amen.

 (pause)

This night,

This moment

Is all about new commandments

This is what Maundy in Latin means.

This is a time for penitence

For sharing a meal together as community

For compassion towards one another

But,

This act of baring our vulnerable selves

Uncovering an ordinary part of us,

Whether encased in leather or canvas

Our feet,

Which have carried us up stairs

Across store aisles

Down airport corridors

And to the Table,

Where we are Fed

(pause)

Or our hands,

Sometimes protectively covered in suede and cotton

Working on housework and homework

Digging in gardens

Receiving birthday gifts

And accepting Bread

(pause)

Our feet and hands,

To be washed

Here,

Of all places

Always leaves us squeamish, right?

See, it’s different when we do this for children

Washing little fingers covered in yogurt and in paint

Washing little toes stuck in mud and in dirt

Helping for little ones in an act of necessity and of love

But this foot washing here in the Gospel,

Is an act of service!

Is an act of love!

(pause)

How many of us can recount

Of how we have tended to who have been sick in hospitals

How we’ve sponge-washed

Brushed hair

Anything to make our loved one

Feel as human as they were able?

How many of us cared for those

Who through debilitating diseases

Regardless of age

Who could not do for themselves?

How many of us have washed their fragile bodies

Nursed them ourselves so that they could continue to breathe, to live

With dignity?

(pause)

Perhaps then, it is natural

The nervousness

The hesitancy

The embarrassment

Uncovering our feet

Extending our hands

To have gentle water caress over

Sometimes I am under the impression,

That we as children of God,

Think this last act of community

That Jesus did for those He loved,

Was only a one time occurrence

A onetime obligation

(pause)

Sometimes I also am painfully aware

That Maundy Thursday services,

Are worrisome

Almost upsetting

For our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ

Because of unworthiness that burdens,

burrows in their souls

(pause)

How besides himself was Judas surely at that moment!

Knowing that Jesus would wash his feet,

Feet that would run,

To fetch,

To lead those

Who would arrest, who would beat, who would maim Jesus.

By washing his feet, was Jesus acknowledging his sin?

And forgiving him,

As Jesus forgives us through Water and the Word?

(pause)

Sometimes I am aware,

There are those who will never approach the Table,

To be Fed,

Or the chair,

So their feet and hands can be washed

Because they feel as if we only see them

Only acknowledge them by their sins

Mary Magdalene,

A follower of Jesus,

When Jesus cast out seven demons out from her

She was a disciple,

She had to be present that night

Did Jesus dare to touch her feet,

A woman?

Feet that tirelessly followed Jesus,

Through dusty roads,

To that ominous cross

To that foreboding tomb

What did it mean for Jesus to also include her in that sacred moment?

(pause)

Peter said to him,

“You will never wash my feet.”

 Jesus answered,

“Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

Jesus’s response to Peter seems harsh

Peter was not focused and listening

Not understanding, as we sometimes fail to understand

Is that this is how Jesus Christ,

The Son of God

The Messiah

Cares and loves His Own!

These disciples who were gathered,

And us, beloved

We who are gathered in this sacred space

(pause)

Nothing,

NOTHING

Can separate us from God

From Jesus Christ

From the Holy Spirit

This action

Of washing His disciples feet

Is the response to the betrayal of this broken world

A world which washed its own hands,

A sign of removing itself,

A callous sign of being done with relationships,

That those who clung to the false power of the world

Refusing to invest itself in one another

(pause)

This is Jesus response to the rejection of this world, now

Through racism, classism, discrimination or just plain hatred

How many feet have been washed and cared for,

Worn from marches, from walking,

Carrying the message of the Gospel

Into the streets

Where it’s often muted

How many hands have had to be soothed,

From passing our blankets, sharing food, sharing peace

With those who the world tosses away?

How many hands and feet were washed this week, this month:

After crawling, running from the ruins in Brussels

Running away from sacred places violated with bombs in Nigeria

Fleeing the darkness that descended on a beach in the Ivory Coast

(pause)

This,

This act of washing other’s feet

is Jesus’s overflowing,

Everlasting LOVE

Through ACTION

This is what Jesus calls us to do

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

(pause)

How do you love?

How have you shared love this week?

How have you chosen to love?

(pause)

When has it been difficult to Love,

Difficult to forgive,

Easier to remain angry,

Hurt?

(pause)

“Do you understand what I have done for you?”

The Good News of Jesus Christ is

Jesus comes and washes us,

Washes the feet that will run and proclaim

Christ has risen

Jesus comes and washes our feet,

Even when we run away

Abandon Jesus

Through this loving act of baptism,

Jesus blesses all of us even when we throw away our relationship with God

Jesus leaves us with the command

To love one another

Jesus’s act of service to us,

Through love

Doesn’t exclude anyone

Even when their sins seem so much greater than our own.

(inviting the congregation to partake in this sacred act as they are called)

Thanks Be to God

 

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