It is the Thursday before Good Friday and Jesus knows what lies ahead for him, ridicule, pain, suffering, darkness and death. Instead of fear and worry or spending the day in bed or stress eating or even denial, Jesus focuses on what is most important—his people. He gathers his 12 disciples and serves them. He teaches them how to remember him by the practice of communion or the Eucharist but before the meal he has another big lesson.
As each arrive to the meal, Jesus greets them with a towel and basin to wash their feet. Can you imagine that? Think of THE most important person you know/imagine and you showing up for an honored meal and they sit you down to wash your dirty feet. (We are talking on a day you wore a certain shoe to hide the fact you didn’t have time for a pedicure or shower kind of day.) The Savior of the world, our Savior, knelt down and washed his friends’ feet. I’ve heard the story over and over then one time it struck me that Judas walked into that meal like everyone else. Jesus knew Judas’ plans to betray him, in fact later in the meal, Jesus dismisses him to do just that and STILL, Jesus washes his feet. Sit with that a bit. Would you have? I may have but maybe I would’ve made him wait, gave him the dirty water, the cheap soap. You? (Obviously, pray for me.)
The word Maundy is derived from the Latin word “command” referring to Jesus’ greatest command of love and to “Love one another as I have loved you”. (John 13:34) I am a visual learner so today as I read the story again, I picture myself walking into that meal and how I’d look and feel as Jesus washed my feet. I feel nervous, unworthy but as I sit, take a deep exhale and accept the gift, I feel loved. This is Jesus commandment—go love like this, everyone, including those you can’t stand, the ones that have betrayed you.
When you learn to love like this, there is a freedom that comes with it. It definitely takes practices and I definitely con not do it on my own (remember the cheap soap?). I need Jesus every day, every minute to teach and remind me to love like him.
It is a constant surrender that is so worth it. This surrender comes with peace, joy and more love to give.
My prayer is that we act like it today and we grow in God’s love. Amen