This cross has been a special memory for more than 30 years since it was given to me by a resident in a hostel for homeless young people I was managing in Birmingham. He made it from matchsticks as a thank you for showing him so much love and support and myself and Virginia want to say thank you for your prayers as we have walked together through challenging times and now look forward with hope for the future.
Washing feet before breaking bread and drinking wine…
Read: John 13: 1-17
This evening is a time to remind ourselves of what we are called to do every day of the year, but are so reluctant to do — to kneel at the feet of our friends and wash their feet! It seems easier to say that we will pick up our cross and follow Jesus than to bring a basin and towel to the table and before our communion do for each other what Jesus does for us. If we can’t do that task how can we begin to respond to the much more demanding challenges of ministry with much greater sacrifices? This activity on Maundy Thursday is a reminder of what we are called to do as followers of Jesus and comes with communion and the invitation: “REMEMBER ME!”
I hear emotion in the words Jesus speaks as he breaks bread and pours wine for us because as he says them I imagine it is like a prayer that we will understand what he has done and what more he will do. He wept as he approached Jerusalem because the people did not understand what was needed for peace and this is such a prayerful activity as he kneels at OUR feet, washes them with water and gently wipes them with a towel with the humility of a servant. That was what he did BEFORE the meal and then as he breaks bread asks us, I am sure, to remember what he did! Not only that, but to do it for each other.
Breaking bread and sharing wine is something we look forward to celebrating, but washing the feet of our friends is something, I have observed over the years, is an activity many of us try to avoid. I have been asked before Maundy Thursday services whether “we will have to do that!” I wonder how many people would come if I said “yes, you do” and what would happen if we did it before every communion service.
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet!” Is it too embarrassing to do what Jesus did?
Over the last year more people than ever have been doing what Jesus would do and done it without realising it? Most probably don’t go to a Church, but have risked their lives caring for people and washed much more than feet of those struggling with Coronavirus and the effects of long-Covid. Carers have become more isolated over the last year and had to make greater sacrifices for family, friends, neighbours and strangers. There is no time for embarrassment for cared for or carer and the good news is that you will be blessed for doing what Jesus does for each of us and I want you to know it! Your hands are the hands of Jesus and from your heart is revealed his love.
So, why is it so hard for many of us to kneel at the feet of our friends on Maundy Thursday and wash them with water and gently dry them with a towel? Is it an activity for every communion and is it a call to humility and service for every day of the week, every week of the year? This is following what Jesus does and BEING like him to each other so “brother, sister may I serve you and be as Christ to you; and may I have the grace to let you be my servant too!”
Send a message, or telephone, this weekend to remind people that you are praying for them.
We know many people who are carrying their cross of pain, grief, fear and doubt so pray they will be blessed with new life….
Pray also for yourself and that the stones will be moved away from your heart so you can reveal the beauty of Love more powerfully than before.
God Bless, Richard