Maundy Thursday, Year A
Julie Kae Sigars
Exodus 12:1-14 † Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 † 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 † John 13:1-17, 31b-35
The Three Days are a time of memory.
We remember the stories that are important to us as the people of God. The same stories that have been important to the church for centuries. Yet they still speak to us today. In new ways.
Part of the Three Days is about making all things new. Hope, Trust, Love. All things will be well. In this time of Lent, when we gave up far more than we thought we would….I have a new thing.
I have learned a new dance. I have known it for, like, forever. Since I was a child. You have known it too. But know, it feels totally new. It is the hand washing dance. I bet you thought I would have a handwashing song. But no. It’s a dance.
The new part of this dance is that I am being much more thorough in my washing. It is never an “over and done” thing. I am paying attention in ways I never have before. And all of a sudden, my hands seemed like dancers. With these amazing moves, each hand having its own part. There is something intimate about it; like I am caring for myself in a deeper way.
Because, if I don’t I may get sick. Or someone I know may get sick. Or a stranger I come in contact with might get sick. This dance is a matter of life and death. For me and for the community. For the world.
It is important.
When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, it was important. It was intimate (maybe too intimate for Peter!?), and a great example. His actions were astonishing to them; so much so that later he felt like he had to explain it. “Do you know what I have done to you?” Do you know what I have done to you?
He turned their world upside down. He showed them a new way of being. A new way of service. A new way of loving. Up close and personal. But communal. An action that they would remember and the church remembers and enacts to this day.
A way to remember that love and service is what a Godly life looks like. Love and service; not power.
The new way of eating, drinking, and remembering. As a meal is needed for life, Jesus turned this life-giving communal meal into a time of remembering: to give thanks and remember all he gave for the life of his followers and for the world.
Do this and remember. Do this and remember.
Remember the meals we have had, the feeding of the five thousand. Remember Lazarus. Remember the blind man. Remember the woman at the well. Remember those who are poor. Remember those in prison. Remember those who are ill. Remember that I died because those in power would not give it up.
I was a threat to their way of life.
And rise from this table, with love and courage to be Christ’s body in the world. To wash the foot of a stranger. Which is to honor their humanity as a child of God. Do this and remember.
Just think about it. Jesus said he knew that he had to go to Jerusalem. But that he would die there. In the midst of this, he wanted his friends to get these two things: The meal of memory, and the commandment of love. These were to help them through the future. To help the church of all time. We don’t always get it right. But we can remember and begin anew.
We can and do remember these two things. In this time of separation, fear, illness, death, may these two things give us hope.
Memory and Love.
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