On this Maundy Thursday, I find myself reading, re-reading, and meditating upon the Gospel reading from the Lectionary (John 13:1-17, 31-35).
Two extremely important things happen in this text…
1. Jesus demonstrates the importance of humble service when he takes on the role of a servant and washes the disciples feet. After washing the disciples feet, he instructs them to do the same. Now, most would read into the text that Jesus isn’t simply calling his followers to wash each others feet, but is calling on his followers to humbly serve.
2. Jesus gives a new commandment: Love one another! “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
In the cultural context of Indiana, in the midst of the great debacle known as RFRA, the Gospel reading could not be more appropriate.
No matter one’s views on issues of sexuality, marriage equality, etc…we are called to serve and to love.
Jesus did not practice discrimination. He was known as a “friend of sinners”. The religious folks didn’t like him because he associated with “notorious sinners”. He broke down barriers and showed grace, mercy, love, and compassion to “the least of these”. If he was hard on anyone, it wasn’t the “known sinners”…it was the pious religious types!
It seems like Jesus, the same guy who for his first miracle turned water into wine…not just a little bit of wine either, would not refuse to serve or love anyone. Jesus would bake a cake for anyone. Jesus would bake a pizza for anyone. Jesus would provide a flower arrangement for anyone. Jesus would love and serve anyone.
As followers of Jesus, our call is the same…to love and serve anyone.
So, on this Maundy Thursday, I’m thankful for the example of Jesus. I’m thankful for his obvious demonstration of humble service. I’m thankful and challenged by his call to love one another.