Good morning all! We are coming into the homestretch of holy week!
Today’s scripture: John 13:1-35
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
Today we celebrate the last meal that Jesus had with his friends and his commandment to love one another. “Maundy” actually translates to commandment to remember what Jesus has told us. For Jesus, it was important that they celebrated this meal with one another. They gather at Passover time, a joyous moment in which the disciples celebrated freedom from Egyptian slavery. They gathered those who were dearest to them.
And then over a meal, Jesus changes all of the rules. In John, he actually turns everything on its head when he washed their feet and in the other Gospels this is where he changes how the bread and the wine will be viewed. They will literally be re-membering Jesus each time they eat and drink.
This is not the only time that meals were used for teaching moments in Jesus ministry. Even after he is dead, he will come back over meals that they will have together. One of Jesus’ first miracles happens with beverages. Meals were used to show that he would eat with anyone. Why is that? Meals are intimate. You get to know people over a meal or you remember who they are to you over a meal. Over a meal you can feed your body but you can also feed your mind and its a moment in time when we are forced to stop and take it all in.
I think I have said before on this blog that for me, meals are essential to my ministry in getting to know people, it is an intentional time with another. Growing up, the family dinner time was key to my family. My parents made sure that, if we could, we sat down at the table together over dinner. We would talk about our days, have a great time together and then move on into our night with assorted tasks or the latest tv show we really wanted to watch.
Meals can also be hard places to sit it out. I remember one night, my brother and I were fighting and it had not be resolved by the time of the meal. He sat across from me and things escalated until he looked up with a mouth full of corn and spit it all over me. It can be hard to sit down, face to face, and endure a meal at times. Other times, the meal time can be joyous and full of laughter. Another spitting incident happened because someone said something funny and Sprite flew out of a brothers mouth and on me….so I am realizing that I was spit on quite a bit at meals.
I am sure the meal that night had all of those elements. A betrayer sat the table, intimate conversation happened, and I am sure there were joyous moments too. Today, be intentional about a meal,, preferably with someone else. Sit down with them and intentionally connect in some way to re-member God. If it is just you, do this anyway. Actually sit at a table instead of on the go or watching tv and think about all that is. Or you are more than welcome to join us at a large raucous meal at the CoOp tonight at 5:30. There will be hard moments, lots o laughter, and intimate moments as well.