2014 Lent 38


Mark 14:12-25

Today is Maundy Thursday on the Christian calendar.  It’s the day when we remember the last supper Jesus enjoyed with his disciples; and the meal where he called Judas out.  Both of these events are recorded in today’s reading.

Tradition attaches foot washing to Maundy Thursday.  The Gospel of John is the only account to narrate the foot washing.  But, curiously, the supper in John does not fall on Passover–on Thursday–as it does in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Nevertheless, the Maundy part of Maundy Thursday comes from John’s story.

Maundy derives from the Latin mandatum, from which we get mandate and variations like commandment.

Over in the Gospel of John, Jesus gives a new commandment: to love one another.  He then demonstrates what he means by taking on the role of a servant and washing feet.

All of God’s interrelationships with humanity over all these millennia come down to this: love.  And it’s a love that’s outward, that serves others.

This is the love of God, a love that we humans are capable of possessing and demonstrating.  And, by the way, it makes the Christian God unique; for outward love can only ever exist in relationship (as the Trinity has for all eternity).

So, make what you will of John not aligning the Last Supper with the Passover meal–not on the same day as Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Whether John’s meal happened on a Thursday or not, that’s not really the point.  Rather, it’s love commanded; a commandment that, if it were obeyed everywhere, would result in a better world.

Attend a Maundy Thursday foot washing service if you’re able; see Jesus Christ’s new commandment illustrated.


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