Posts Tagged ‘Maundy Thursday’
[05APRIL2012] Lent | Holy Week 2012: Day 44—Reflection and Meditation
“The Lord Jesus, after he had supped with his disciples and had washed their feet, said to them ‘do you know what I, your Lord and Master, have done to you? I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done.” (John 13:1-17)
♦ Psalms 116:1,10-17
♦ John 13:1-17, 31-35
I have given you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you.
Maundy Thursday: Jesus washes the disciple’s feet—teaches servanthood; Jesus provides the disciples with a new mandate, “love one another as I have loved you;” Institution of the Lord’ Supper—Eucharist; Jesus’ high priestly prayer (John 17) Gethsemane; Judas betrays Jesus—the arrest; Jesus indicted before Annas, Jesus answers to Caiphas, Jesus taken to trial before the Sanhedrin; Peter denies Christ.
And being found in the design of a human being, he humbled himself… Jesus said, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Maundy Thursday is a troubling day for me; it is a day that causes me to realize how far short I fall from truly being a disciple of Jesus. In effect, and as I mentioned yesterday, it is why I feel as though much of my representation of Christ is a betrayal. This isn’t meant to be an exercise in false humility; let me explain.
Retracing the events of Maundy Thursday help to shed light and bring focus to the weaknesses of my faith (see the event timeline for Maundy Thursday above). There are, perhaps, other views, but this is my comparison to the events I see as critical for people who profess to follow Jesus. I consider the teachings on this particular day the great summary of all that Jesus taught—he didn’t leave his disciples with a litany of do’s and don’ts. He simply told them to live humble lives, serving people as he had served them (I’m reminded of the Kenosis passage from Philippians 2:5-11). He also told them to love one another as he had loved them; again, a hearken to Phil. 2:5-11. As simple as these mandates seem on the surface, they are truly the deepest essence of what it means to follow Jesus…and herein lays my problem.
I have to examine my own soul and life motives laid side by side to these mandates. Do I live with such purity of intent; to love my neighbor as myself…with the same capacity and intensity as Jesus? Do I live to serve all humanity with humility and absolute selflessness? I don’t think I can answer an honest “yes” to either of these questions. Oh, I want to, but I’d be less than honest if I professed that I was succeeding. And who is my neighbor? There is a bigger problem with this soul-searching for me though and it extends beyond my acknowledging my failure to love and serve as Jesus commanded. The bigger problem is how I respond to my examination. What am I doing about it? My answer is not too much. My common response is to put off any action steps. I like to tell myself that “I’ll get there…” but that’s impossible to believe if I’m not intentionally working to those ends. Invariably, I console myself by saying that God’s grace covers my weakness and failures to love as he loved, but I think that is a lie I tell myself. Is God’s grace sufficient to cover my sin? Of course it is, but if I concede these failures of mine and do not do anything to correct them, isn’t that the same as taking God’s grace for granted? The writer of Hebrews says that it is akin to trampling the blood of Christ underfoot and for that…there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 10:26-31). That’s why I can see myself as a traitor like Judas and a “deny-er” like Peter. You see, I cannot approach the day of Jesus’ crucifixion without openly and honestly doing some open-heart surgery on myself. This is not a day or season to “bump and run” into and out of. The sum of my faith is what I do with this day. What then, will I do about these things I realize about myself? I don’t know. I know I need real community to help me grow in the grace and the likeness of Christ—and I still haven’t found a community willing to be open and intentional about growing in this way. I’m sure they exist, but I haven’t found one yet. Maybe soon. God willing—maybe soon.
Almighty Father, whose dear Son,, on the night before he suffered did institute the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may thankfully receive the same in remembrance of him who in these holy mysteries giveth us a pledge of life eternal, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end.
Lord, make us fruitful members of Christ by renewing us in his Paschal Mystery. You have made Christ Jesus our wisdom and also our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. To You, O God, be all the glory for ever and for ever. I ask You, O Lord, to help me to be ever convicted of my weaknesses and motivated toward perfection. I ask by Your always present and indwelling Holy Spirit to guide me by Your strength to fulfill the mandates to love as You loved and to serve as You served, so I might be a holy and accurate reflection of You to the world in which I live. All this, by Your grace and to Your glory and for Your Kingdom. Amen. Amen.