On Maundy Thursday I offer individual absolution and laying on of hands. After this I also offer corporate forgiveness in the name of Christ, not only for those who did not come forward, but for our sins as community.
This was the message later...
Do you know what he's done? What Jesus has done? Tonight we don't hear Jesus talk about Holy Communion. It's what makes the Gospel of John different. We come here on Maundy Thursday expecting to hear "do this in remembrance of me" followed by words about bread and wine. WHAT IF...instead we were given what we hear in tonight's gospel as the way of remembering that last night with the disciples? We'd be washing feet each week. You seem underwhelmed. Or maybe overwhelmed.
We'd be told to strip away all of what gives us our status, and empty ourselves of our ideas about it all. And wash each others feet. All the dirt, and the scrapes. The wounds and literally sometimes all the crap that our feet drag around. Just as true in all the places we come from as Galilee. And cleansed, loved, and forgiven. Do you know what he's done?
And it's not just about the feet. It's about the love. Servant love. That loves our unloveliness. Servant love.
Years ago our daughters were arguing over having to clean up the mess in the room they shared and at the height of the row, I heard one of them bellow, "I AM NOT YOUR SERVANT!!" Followed by stomping down the stairs to present the offending sister in hopes I would do something about it
So often, we too want to say, if we're being honest, in the middle of people and situations we encounter, "I AM NOT YOUR SERVANT!" and do the same.
Do you know what Jesus has done?
He has not only gotten down on his hands and knees, and entered the grittiness of our humanity, he's cleaned up the mess. And he's done it for ALL, even Judas, knowing full well what is to come.
Knowing the very real fact that evil will take up residence in Judas and lead him to be someone it's hard to imagine he'd become. And it will take up residence in Peter and lead him to speak words he swore he never would.
Henri Nouwen writes that we, "People who live close together, can be great sources of sorrow for one another. When Jesus chose the 12, he chose Judas among them. He's called a traitor, literally in the Greek, 'one who hands another over to suffering.' And the truth is that there is something of the traitor in each one of us. Because each of us hands over our fellow human beings to suffering- somehow, somewhere. Mostly without intending it, or maybe even knowing it. When we are willing to confess that often we hand over those we love ( and those we are called to love) even against our own best intentions, we will be more ready to forgive those who mostly against their will, are the causes of our pain."
Because we all muddy the water.
We are called to remember- to re-live- what Jesus has done- for you, for me, for us all. To be shaped by his servanthood and to hear again the command-love each other like this.
He summons us to come and be cleansed and then draws us into a different world
of communion and community
And it can't just be about being with the ones we like.
It's also about being with the misunderstood, the betrayer and the enemy whoever we imagine them to be.
When it's all stripped away we see who we really are- all of us.
Then... we see, just how profound it is what Jesus has done
That we can't stop God's love and forgiveness. We can't stop God's commitment in Christ
To humanity at it's stinkiest and most busted places.
Do you see what Jesus has done? What Jesus does still?
Love EVERYONE like this