Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet…John 13:4-5
On this, the last night of his life, Christ gave us a new commandment: that we love one another as God has loved us.
We call this night Maundy Thursday because the Latin word for commandment is maundatum. (So no, it’s not Monday Thursday, as many of us may have believed.) Our remembrance of Christ’s final hours as a human center entirely around this word spoken to us.
In the gospel of John, where we hear Christ’s final sermon and mandate, we also see a different ritual than the table-centered practice of the Lord’s Supper that we receive in the other three gospels. In John, Jesus does not celebrate Communion, but instead washes his disciples’ feet. An act of service he tells us to imitate.
There is a certain irony apparent to many of us about “washing” right now. Most of our hands are so dry that we can almost hear them. Nevertheless, this may be the year that a washing is precisely what we need.
Jesus lovingly cared for the extremities of his closest friends, showing true compassion with every movement.
So here is my commission to you this day: take time at some point today to share in this ritual of Christ by mindfully washing your hands. Be sure to use hand lotion after the soap and water.
If you can, wash the hands of your family members who are with you. Show the same tenderness that Christ did to those he loved.
If you are on your own in this time of great stress, I encourage you to take part by washing your hands slowly, methodically, and trusting that Christ is present and showing that same compassion to you.
Much of Jesus’ work was about small mercies. Christ will be present with us this night, as he is every night. What better way to remember him during this challenging time than by making holy that which we must do out of necessity.
We also hope you will join us for Maundy Thursday worship at 6:30 p.m. on our church’s FaceBook page or via email.
May you know Christ’s presence as we follow him to Golgotha and all that lies beyond.
Blessings, Pastor Janie