MAUNDY THURSDAYMaundy Thursday Worship Gathering at 7:00 PM
Jesus' command today to love one another is not about having good feelings for each other or being "nice." Jesus tells his disciples that they are to love one another "just as I have loved you." By this definition, love means compassion, mercy, and plenty of hard work. As we see in today's gospel, Jesus' love is active in service and, ultimately, sacrifice. All we need is love, but to love as Jesus loves is no easy thing.
Jesus' love is also inclusive, not meant only for the inner circle. Taken in the context of Jesus' teaching and ministry, his love, and the love he has in mind for us, is offered to all of humanity and, in fact, all of God's creation. The world will know that the church follows Jesus not only by our behavior within our own community, but also as we relate to the world. To love as Jesus loved is to cross boundaries, to stand with the lowliest among us, and to challenge the accepted ways in which the world does business.
John's is the only gospel in which Jesus does not institute the Lord's supper at his last Passover with the disciples. At John's last supper Jesus gives himself to them in a different way. His washing of his disciples' feet is an enactment of his witness to the dominion of God: the first will be last; the lowly will be lifted up; whoever loves their life will lose it. This act of self-sacrifice, one which prefigures his death on the cross, is a living example of Jesus' countercultural definition of love, one which he passes on to the twelve and to us. Washed by Jesus in our baptisms, we too are blessed with and challenged by God's love in Christ and the command to share that sacrificial love with the whole world. (www.sundaysandseasons.com)