Maundy Thursday Reflection

Author: 
Rev'd Heather
Date: 
Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 8:15pm

Introduction

Tonight we come together to mark the beginning of the Easter Triduum – three days, beginning tonight on this Maundy Thursday and culminating on Easter Sunday, that are at the heart of our Christian faith.

Maundy Thursday takes us into the heart of the city of Jerusalem for the Passover supper. We are also led to the heart of love, by the Saviour who serves and washes the feet of his friends. After supper they go out to the Garden of Gethsemane, and perhaps this evening you have placed some plants in your home to represent your own Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus asks his disciples to stay awake while he prays. Judas, the betrayer, comes with soldiers and Jesus is arrested.

Tonight is one of my favourite services of the Christian year, one of comfort, challenge, joy, and sorrow; expressing the depth of God’s love for us in the washing of feet, the breaking of bread, and the agony of the garden. It is a night when, through these acts, we recall God’s wonderful love for us and that great commandment, to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’

Readings

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 John 13:1-7, 31b-35

Reflection – Jesus came not to be served but to serve

John’s Gospel is absolutely fascinating – and tonight we hear a wonderful excerpt about the last supper. But whereas the other Gospels – the Synoptic Gospels – would recall the institution of the Eucharist, John recalls the moment where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, where Jesus served his closest friends in a very practical, earthy way.

We often find it easier to re-enact the Last Supper by recalling the gifts of bread and wine than by recalling the washing of the feet. We can struggle to find people willing to come forward and have their feet washed in church, we can find ourselves getting a bit embarrassed about our feet – hard patches of skin, nails not neatly pedicured, corns, and most self-conscious of all – do they smell?

But none of that worries Jesus! The feet of the disciples two thousand years ago would almost certainly be covered in the dust of the road, potentially a little potent’, as Jesus offers to take the traditional place of the servant and comes to wash them. It’s certainly not the job of a Lord, but it is a job that offers great service – to refresh tired and dirty feet at the end of a long day. This evenings clap for keyworkers, just before our worship tonight, celebrates those who at this time continue to serve. Not so much by washing feet, but in roles that would often be judged lowly – if basing judgment on wages. Many of the keyworkers work in the care sector, on shop floors, driving deliveryvehicles, cleaners... Carrying out those jobs today represents the life of love and service that Jesus modelled – living out love and service even when it put His life at risk.

There are many too at this time who have stepped up to help neighbours, family, and friends in need, who almost without a second thought are living out that sacrificial love that Jesus calls us to. As we seek to live lives of service, we find ourselves drawn ever closer to the love that Jesus calls us to.

But as we do, there is one other important act for us to ponder. In the same way that this evening and on Easter Sunday you are invited to receive a spiritual communion, over this Triduum and indeed over the coming weeks, perhaps we could sit in prayer with Jesus and ask Jesus to come and spiritually wash our feet. To come and sit next to us, and love the parts of us that sometimes we’d like to hide away. To come and reveal to us, in the way that we most need to hear it, God’s love for us. For Jesus promises us – Just as I have loved you, love one another.