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Maundy Thursday

By Friday of this week (if you don't know the way the story ends) it looks like the wrath of God has eclipsed the God of Love. But it isn't so. Mercy triumphs over Judgment at Easter: love triumphs over wrath. Love is the new commandment given on this night by Jesus after he has washed the disciples' feet .... "Love one another as I have loved you." This is the "mandatum novum" from which the name "Maundy Thursday" comes.

But the disciples don't fully comprehend how deeply Jesus has loved them. After all they had been through, it took a king on his knees with a towel around his waist to prove to them the loving, servant heart of God (what if our President, or a king, were to wash the feet of a bunch of fishermen today? What if it were your feet?). But even so, Peter the disciple doesn't understand why Jesus would defile himself in this way.

If Peter finds it hard to accept that Jesus his king would humiliate himself by washing his followers' feet, he will be even more confounded tomorrow. For there will be another demonstration of how God loves on Good Friday, when the perfect love of God in Jesus faces the wrath of God against evil, and triumphs in the end. All for the love of us.

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of his love. It was time for supper, and the Devil had already enticed Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to carry out his plan to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him. When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, "Lord, why are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus replied, "You don't understand now why I am doing it; someday you will." "No," Peter protested, "you will never wash my feet!"Jesus replied, "But if I don't wash you, you won't belong to me." Simon Peter exclaimed, "Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!" Jesus replied, "A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you are clean, but that isn't true of everyone here." For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, "Not all of you are clean." After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, "Do you understand what I was doing? You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and you are right, because it is true. And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. You know these things —now do them! That is the path of blessing. (NLT)
Mark 11.1-10
As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. "Go into that village over there," he told them, "and as soon as you enter it, you will see a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, 'The Lord needs it and will return it soon.'" The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside a house. As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, "What are you doing, untying that colt?" They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. Many in the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut leafy branches in the fields and spread them along the way. He was in the center of the procession, and the crowds all around him were shouting, "Praise God! Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Bless the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!" (NLT)
 
Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you. I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.
 
Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you. By this shall the world know that you are my disciples: That you have love for one another. (BCP)
Prayer

Wash me clean Lord. I want to receive all you have for me. I am blessed and honored when you serve me; I am humbled by your humility. Help me remember your healing and cleansing. Don't let me forget my salvation. In darkness help me call on your name, Jesus. In darkness, be the light of my heart; may I never be afraid. I am longing for your sunrise, Jesus. In your mercy, give me the gift of hope. And by your love, help me to love others. Teach me your way in the coming days. Help me to understand how you have loved me, and how you love me still.

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