Lent’s on its last legs, the final days of giving up, if we haven’t already given in to impulses and habits. Tonight some of us will go to church, not because we’re so holy, more because we’re needy and grateful for something we don’t quite grasp.
The Boston Globe and my mailbox overflow with ads for candies, bunnies, new clothes and flowers Yesterday at Marshalls, propped against some pillows embroidered with Happy Easter and He is Risen a plaque proclaimed: We Believe in the Easter Bunny.
Some who believe Jesus is who He said he was, will attend church tonight to witness or experience some form of foot washing. Why? It’s what Jesus did on the night he was traded for chocolate bunnies and new clothes, an attempt to feel or look good without being good. There’s a Judas in all of us, selling out Jesus for lesser stuff, sometimes hiding behind a theological argument or a political viewpoint.
A friend and I’ve been reading Lent for Everyone by N.T. Wright. He wrote concerning Maundy Thursday, “Maundy comes from the Latin mandatum, the ‘commandment’, which in John’s gospel, Jesus gave to his followers: the commandment that they should love one another as he has loved them.” (p.105) This was a new commandment, inclusive.
All inclusive Love.
These are some of the last words Jesus spoke.
Last words matter.
So does the image of Jesus, donning an apron, squatting down in front of Judas, slowly and lovingly washing his filthy feet. Grace at ground level.
What do we do with such Love?
In a few hours we’ll shout “Kill it!”
In even less time, Peter will cry out to three different people, “I never knew the guy!”
There’s a Peter in all of us, distancing ourselves from Love for one reason or another, sometimes fear of losing life or positions of power, where we imagine we can do a greater good.
Jesus, after washing the feet of his friends, speaking last words, heads for the Garden of Gethsemane to pray for Himself, for them, even for us.
Later with a kiss from one of His friends, Love’s hauled off by some startled soldiers, stunned by how easy it was to capture this most wanted criminal.
Tonight’s not really about our feet, it’s about remembering the New Maundy, the commandment to Love as Christ loves. Love that bends to serve ones we don’t even like, ones with dirty feet and minds, ones we skirt around, hate because of their lifestyle, politics, religion or race.
Love that dares to be Grace at ground level.
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