Maundy Thursday: sharing in the joy of service
A few words about foot washing -- eventually.
When I was in college I lived for awhile with a family in a Christian household (Joe & Deedie's house). We had meals in common. And we all had chores. One evening after dinner I said I'd do the dishes, and Deedie stopped me, and said,
it's Marc's turn to do that; don't steal his joy. "Steal his joy"? To serve is a joy. Each of us has a turn at this particular service, and it's Marc's turn to do this service, and have this joy. Each of us has a turn. Likewise, each of us has a story; to share it is our particular joy. If one of the kids came home with a special story to share, but the other one beat them to it and told the story first, that was like stealing the joy of the person whose special story it was. So each of us has a particular service to enjoy, a particular story to tell, a particular joy to share. And yet all of us also share in one service, one story, one joy - and that one joy and service and story is what we are here to celebrate today. Our story so far: last Sunday we were all waving palms and singing hosanna and proclaiming Jesus the king of the Jews.
Today he reveals just what kind of king, what kind of messiah, he is. Jesus set the example - he washed the disciples' feet. Not counting equality with God a thing to be grasped, not standing on royal privilege or authority or power, he humbled himself, kneeled, groveled - and took the part of a slave. He did this service for them - and told them to do likewise. He gave them a new mandate (the "mandy" in Maundy Thursday): Love one another. And he invited them to share in the service, and the story, and the joy. And now he invites us to share, in the service, and the story, and the joy.
April 8, 2004
St John's, Lakeport CA