Notes from Jan

A New Maundy

April 18, 2019

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!”

Kill Love!

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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4 Comments

  • Reply Huntley Leavens Skinner April 18, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you for putting into words the dirty condition of my heart and the Wordless power of Love to clean it by His example.

  • Reply Alice Mathews April 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Amen, Amen, Amen = Oh please, SO BE IT. Thank you, Jan.

  • Reply wendy lane April 19, 2019 at 7:09 am

    Not because we’re holy, but because we’re needy – so very true. I loved this post Jan, brought tears to my eyes. Can’t even begin to really wrap my mind around Jesus love, all inclusive love… for Judas… for Peter… for me. Thank you so much for these reflections. <3

  • Reply marnie wells April 20, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Dear Jan
    I was among the ladies who enjoyed your company in Nashua NH
    Today I’m sitting in the quiet as my youngest son, Hudson Taylor, ( #11 of 12) puts the finishing touches on his Easter sermon.. we are in Sherbrook, Canada. I am visiting
    After hearing you I picked up my well worn copy of “First we Have Coffee” written by your mom. How I loved hearing and seeing you and her together!
    Funny question but are your grandmother’s recipes written anywhere? My mouth is watering as I read about meatballs in gravy!❤️
    Blessings this Easter
    Marnie Wells

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