Scripture: Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:10-26, Luke 22: 14-23, John 13:1-35
Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday, is the day on which we gather in sanctuaries all over the world to remember the night on which Jesus shared a final meal with his disciples.
But this year, we will not be able to gather and remember the significant events of this night. The traditions with which we commemorate Maundy Thursday, such as holy communion, and acts of care like foot or hand washing are not possible right now. So, how do we remember the Last Supper? How do we remind ourselves of what this night meant for Jesus, and truly for all of us?
I offer you this suggestion: Perhaps the answer lies within John’s Gospel. If you look at this night through the lens of each Gospel reading, you will find two ways in which Jesus took on the role of a servant with his friends. He washed their feet and he served them a meal. It was not his place to do either of these things. Servants did these things. Jesus chose to do these things, and he chose it to teach his friends an important lesson: that in order to become great in God’s Kingdom, they would have to join ranks with the least of these on earth. As disciple of Jesus, you would not be served. Instead, you would become the servant. Here, the King of Glory set the example by becoming a servant himself.
Jesus washed the disciple’s feet and served them at the table as an example of how they should care for each other when he couldn’t be with them anymore.
Or as John writes in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
“Love one another” was the meaning behind all that Jesus did that night for his friends, because he knew he would soon face his death on the cross, his greatest act of love, and the disciples would then be called to carry on his work until he returned to reign through eternity.
And “love one another” is how we can choose to remember Maundy Thursday during a global pandemic in which social distancing removes our ability to gather together in one place. Because acts of compassion and servitude are not limited to foot washing and receiving the bread and the cup. Let’s “love one another” this week by staying at home and doing all we can to protect each other, knowing that we are one in the Spirit as the body of Christ.
May God’s grace and peace be with each of you today, and throughout this Holy Week, as we look forward to Resurrection Sunday!
Reflection: What is something you can do on Maundy Thursday to “love one another.” Perhaps a card, text, or phone call, or a special meal for your family or yourself? Or time in prayer for all who are in need?
Prayer: Gracious God, you are compassionate and kind. We see this most clearly in your Son Jesus’ care for each of us. Create in us a new heart that is eager to serve both friend and neighbor; so that others will see your love and be drawn to you. In Christ’s name. Amen.
One Bread One Body by John Foley & New Dawn: