Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reflecting on Passion Week - Holy Thursday

Today, by the liturgical calendar, is Holy Thursday {or Maundy Thursday}.  Growing up in the Catholic church, after Palm Sunday was over, we looked to Holy Thursday as the next big day, which marked the beginning of the Easter "Triduum" {Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday}.

What happened during Biblical times during this week?
Biblegateway has a great timeline illustration here.

In the Catholic church, there is much tradition during the Triduum.  Of all the "seasons" of the Catholic church, this time period was always my favorite.  Holy Thursday is the last mass celebrated before Easter Sunday.  The service is very solemn as the church prepares to move towards Good Friday.

But what is it that we are observing on Holy Thursday?
It is the Last Supper.
The breaking of the bread between Christ and his disciples for the last time.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

In John 13:1-7, we find Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.  Jesus humbles himself and takes on the role of servant, to wash the feet of his disciples.  Try to imagine the scene.  These men have walked along the dirty, dusty roads of the town throughout the day.  The infrastructure of the town is not what we know in our modern towns today.  They were dirt roads.  There were animals.  There were people.  They wore sandals on their feet.  Can you imagine what their feet would look like by the time they got around to their evening meal?  So, now picture this group of men with Christ.  He removes his own robe and wraps a towel around himself.  One by one, he washes his disciples feet and dries them with the towel.

Is this something you picture our Lord and Savior doing?  Is this not the job of a servant?  Someone lowly?  Yet Christ humbled himself and washed the feet of these men.  Peter protests.  He can't imagine Jesus washing his feet, yet Jesus tells him that to follow him, he must allow him to do this.

I had the privilege of hearing Jo Saxton speak at the Chosen Conference that our church held back in January.  Jo gave an incredible message on this very topic - she spoke about how counter-cultural this act of Jesus was, yet he knew what he was doing and he then called the disciples to go out and do the same.  It is the same for us now as it was for them back then.

Jo shared that God wants to wash our feet - and he wants us to wash each other's feet.  Because of Jesus Christ and what would occur after the Last Supper, we have the Holy Spirit and we are washed with the word and the Spirit.  Where are we wounded?  In what areas are we broken?  In what areas is our heart sick?  God wants to wash our feet.  The Lord came to wash our feet.  He wants to cleans us.  He wants us to come to Him and just let Him wash our feet - make us clean; bring us closer to Him.

And out in the world, we must wash each other's feet.  But how?  Are we in the habit of washing each other's feet?  Jo said that we compete and compare and we wind up stamping on each other's feet - not washing them!  What is holding us down?  Where in our lives does there need to be reconciliation?  Why do we compare and compete?  Do we feel like we are unworthy in some aspect of our life?  Jo asked us - what labels define us?  What is holding us back?

We must wash each other's feet.

We need to allow others to was our feet.

Jo said that there is a call on us to wash the world's feet.  God is calling each of us in some way to be out in the world - whether it's through everyday contact with people we see around the community or actually going out into the mission fields.  God desires to use us to wash the feet of the community and the world.  Be Christ to others.  Build others us - not tear them down.

As we look at this humbling act that Christ performed during the Last Supper, let us allow that to serve as a visual reminder of how Christ humbled himself to serve those around him.  These were the people he was closest to.  I would think it would be even more difficult in many respects to do this in a group that you were extremely close with.  Yet that's what he did.

Let us be mindful of how we need to be that Christ-like servant to those around us.  Let us bring Christ to those around us and those out in the world and wash their feet - bring God to them.  Let the Spirit work through you to allow others to see the light of Christ and the love of God.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest


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