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Maundy Thursday 2021


Recorded on April 1st, 2021

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Maundy Thursday service.

Transcript of Sermon:

Today is monday thursday it is the thursday before the crucifixion before death and resurrection in fact my very first day of working in a church on a staff happened on april fool’s day if you can imagine that and it was actually monday thursday april fools day was my very first day in ministry you can say all you want about that whether or not i should still be in ministry being that my first day of ministry was april fool’s day but i remember going to a meeting that day with another church and they were talking about their monday thursday services and i was like what’s that because i did not grow up in a church i did not grow up in a church home and i went to a contemporary church where we didn’t necessarily recognize this moment but i love this day this day of sitting in and reflecting on the moment that jesus spent with his disciples in the upper room we are going to be reading from john 14. we’re going to be reading verses 1 through 17 the scripture will be on your screen in front of you john 13 says it was just before the passover festival jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and to go to the father having loved his own who were in the world he loved them to the end the evening meal was in progress and the devil had already prompted judas the son of simon escariot to betray jesus jesus knew that the father had put all things under his power and that he had come from god and was returning to god so he got up from the meal took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist after that he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him he came to simon peter who said to him lord are you going to wash my feet jesus replied you do not realize now what i am doing but later you will understand no said peter you shall never wash my feet jesus answered unless i wash your feet you can have no part with me then lord simon peter replied not just my feet my hands and my head as well but jesus answered those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet their whole body is clean and you are clean though not every one of you for he knew who was going on to betray him and that was why he said not everyone was clean when he had finished washing their feet he put on his clothes and returned to his place do you understand what i have done for you he asked them you call me teacher and lord and rightly so for that is what i am now that i your lord and teacher have washed your feet you also should wash one another’s feet i have set for you an example that you should do as i have done for you very truly i tell you no servant is greater than his master no messenger greater than the one who sent him now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them this is the word of god for the people of god thanks be to god as i was considering our passage for this week i got to be thinking about jesus and this of the fact that he loved the disciples to the end love to the end have you ever really sat and thought about what love to the end looks like and i thought about love i thought about the ways that i’ve loved over the years the ways that i have been loved over the years and i started to think about my first feelings of what i thought was love and it brought me all the way back to the 80s and a certain boy band that i promised you that i was certain i had feelings of love for now i feel silly about that today but i know in my heart my little tween heart that i was in love with all of the members of new kids on the block and that those feelings i knew i was certain were going to last till the end of time well i’m also pretty certain that today you couldn’t pay me much money to listen to that music because i probably couldn’t tolerate that well to tolerate it that well today but in that time and in that place boy was i in love and then i also had people that i dated in high school and in college that i was certain boy was that love to the end and if my mother or if somebody in my life or my family had told me alyssa this is just you know puppy love or this isn’t going to last you know you’re too young i would have told them that they were crazy that there’s no way they just don’t understand this is real love i’m going to love this person till the end yet here i am today married to joe and joe i didn’t meet till after college so what is this love till the end then you think about parents and families and relationships that happen within families and and i know that so many families are broken and a lot of people don’t even get to experience that idea of love to the end through family relationships and i know that as we as parents at being a parent i know that it can be hard to give that kind of love that lasts till the end in fact it wasn’t until i was married to joe even before i was married to joe actually that i experienced love till the end and it wasn’t actually from joe that i experienced my first glimmer of what this unconditional love was like it was actually from his parents richard and marcy from my in-laws that relationship that’s supposed to be the most fraught with danger the most upside down the most difficult it was those people who taught this girl who gave me a glimmer of understanding of what unconditional love is all about these people who didn’t really go to church one’s a rocket scientist and still you know works to struggle to understand who jesus is but at the same time these two people loved me from the moment they met me cared for me from the moment they met me even when i was just a girlfriend that they didn’t even really know they supported me they cheered me on they championed me even in moments when i promised you i was really really hard to love because there’s moments when we are all really really hard to love especially when you know you’ve just had a baby and your hormones are out of whack and you’re being a really really mean person that did happen in real life to me a lot after i had babies but they never failed or wavered at least face to face with me they always gave without asking back they always gave without expectation of receiving in return and it was something that i don’t know that i’d ever experienced before them now i can’t say it was perfect because or that it is perfect because they’re human and humans aren’t really capable of doing that kind of perfect love till the end that jesus does here but it gave me a glimmer and if you are one of those people who have gotten a glimmer of what this kind of love till the end this unconditional love is boy are you lucky because what we experience here in john 13 is a showing of that kind of love it’s a showing of what’s available to you and i to all humans on earth if we accept jesus into our lives it’s a showing of what jesus came to do for all of humanity of what god chose to send his son to do for all of humanity that kind of love at the same time it’s also a call a call for you and i to take the love that’s given to us and then share it with the rest of the world the way that jesus did so that this bleakness so that this brokenness that pervades all around us doesn’t win and we’re going to look at that that two-dimensional aspect of this love as we go through john 13. when we look at john 13 here this these first few verses we see jesus and his disciples at what happens to be their last meal now i don’t know that the disciples knew for sure that that was what was happening in fact i don’t believe that they did know that jesus certainly knew that jesus sat down at that table knowing without question that this was his last opportunity to feed his disciples not food but to feed them a teaching to feed them something that would last that this was the last time that him and his best friends his closest compatriots were going to have together now if you put yourself there just imagine what that would feel like i mean for the disciples here you are with somebody that you trust with somebody that you love with somebody that you’re following for a reason and you’re eating something that you do together on a regular basis and you’re having conversation and you’re just in that moment it probably felt pretty good but jesus on the other hand is looking around at all of the people and he looks around the table and he sees james and john and andrew he sees these people that he’s invested in these people that he’s given so much of his life to and then he sees peter and he knows that in just a matter of time this man’s going to deny him over and over again and then he looks a little bit further down the table and he sees judas and he knows he knows that this man has already betrayed him and jesus has just a small amount of time to leave them with something a last message a last teaching but instead of spending that time teaching with words jesus gets up from the table wraps a towel around his waist gets a basin of water and begins to wash the feet of his disciples now even today this would be an odd thing one because we don’t wash each other’s feet we don’t wash our feet before we go to dinner but if we did it would be odd to have our master our teacher wash our feet it’s odd to have our master and our teacher cook food for us it’s it’s odd to have somebody who’s above us serve us on any level it would have been odd for any of the disciples to wash each other’s feet because somebody on the same level wouldn’t do it it’s something that a servant does it’s somebody who’s low class that does the work of washing the dirt washing the road off your feet yet all of a sudden jesus decides to stand up to walk around the table and carefully intentionally wash the dust from the feet of the men that he so dearly loves and if we know anything about love us humans as that actions always always speak louder than words and jesus’s actions here stop the disciples in their tracks you know they must be thinking what in the world is happening is jesus trying to be teach us something is jesus saying that we maybe should have done this is jesus i i can’t imagine what they were thinking simon gives us some insight into what he’s thinking he thinks no absolutely not you cannot wash my feet you are my lord you are my teacher when jesus says you’re right i am but if i don’t do this for you and if you don’t partake in this you cannot partake in my life with you after this and there’s no way for you to fully understand what’s happening here until later but trust me you see what jesus is trying to get across here is that not only is this foot washing part of their love relationship part of jesus flipping the paradigm of hierarchy on its head jesus is also pointing to his work on the cross this foot washing is a moment that points to what is coming must happen and that in order for you and i in order for the disciples to partake in what jesus does for us on the cross we must be washed by jesus not only the disciples but you and i you see jesus wants to love us jesus wanted to love the disciples jesus wants to invest in us jesus wants to wash our feet but we have to show up we have to participate and when we show up and when we participate and we when we allow our master our lord our teacher to wash the dust the dirt the sin the grime from our lives we allow a love to enter our lives a love that has no end a love that is perfect a love that is beyond anything that you could ever experience in this life the love that you’ve been looking for forever the love that you expected your mom or your dad or your grandparents or your husband or your wife to give you is the love that’s waiting for you in jesus it’s a love that stoops to any level that’s love that never leaves you it’s a love that forgives all if we show up at its feet at the feet at the cross if the at the feet of the basin if we come to the base and if we come to the cross love will be there ready and waiting for us because the reality is jesus didn’t just wash andrew and james and john’s feet jesus also washed the feet of judas isn’t that amazing the man who betrayed jesus the man who did the thing that brought jesus to be arrested the thing that brought jesus to be hung on the cross and then and then had the gall to continue to hang out with them to continue to show up and to be in relationship with them jesus knew all along and jesus still loved it’s a perfect love it’s a love that we hunger for it’s a love that we’re created for and it’s available to you and to me but the big news about this love is that it’s not just for us to take it’s meant for us to take and then to give because jesus says to simon that not only simon peter must you take this love but you must take it and then do as i have done and give it you see as i serve you i want you to go and serve others jesus was not only pointing to the work that was going to be done for us on the cross but the work that we are supposed to continue to do practically in our lives as servants of christ and the only way that we can love like we’re supposed to love the only way that we can do the work that we’re supposed to do is if we allow jesus to love us the way that we’re created to be loved and i think about the world that we live in today did you know that there have been 20 20 mass shootings since the shootings in atlanta 20. it’s just a month and it’s crazy to me that that’s possible 20 and if we’re not shocked by that it hurts my soul because that shows us how broken this world is 20 people were so broken on the inside that they went out into this world and shot and killed and hurt other people in masses within a month’s time that wasn’t over a year time that wasn’t over two years time and that’s the world that you and i live in today it’s a world that is broken it is a world that is hurting and every time we turn on the news we hear something else bad happening we hear how the darkness continues to pervade we hear how people are hurting and broken we hear how poverty is continuing to rule we hear how the economic crisis continues to hurt people and we wonder where god is and we wonder how god can allow all of this to happen and yet we’re told here by jesus that i have set an example for you that you should do as i have done you see the answer to the problems that are in this world is you and me going and loving as jesus has loved going and serving as jesus has served and i believe that we see the brokenness that we see because you and i are not taking the call to love and to serve as seriously as we’re supposed to instead of looking around the table and asking how we can love we look around the table and judge how that person doesn’t deserve my love and i know it’s hard because i have those same feelings but when i think about the mass shooting in colorado i think about the victims of those families and i think about who’s going to be the light in their life which follower of god is going to show up in their life to tell them that god is still real to show them to not to not put up signs and say that god loves them but to actually be a living example of god’s goodness who’s going to be that living example and then i think about the judas in that story i think about the shooter in fact i think about all 20 shooters and i think about who’s going to be the light in that story who’s going to wash their feet because my friends we aren’t just called to love and to care for those who it’s easy to love and care for we’re called to be the light to all of the world not just those who have been victimized but also those who are doing the breaking because the only way for us to find healing the only way for us to find the kingdom in this world as it is in heaven is for us to love all to care for all those who are broken and hurting others and those who are being hurt we’re supposed to be the light in this world to all jesus washed the feet of judas are you and i doing the work of washing the feet of all who need to be loved of all who are causing hurt and pain in this world i don’t know that we are and i don’t know that we are because it’s hard it’s really hard it’s hard to walk alongside somebody who’s done something and terribly bad but i believe that’s what we’re called to do and we’re called to do it because it’s the only way that this world is going to find healing and we’re called to do it because this did it before us so that person in your family that is impossible to love because they are horrendously hard to be around you’re called to love them that person at work that makes your life miserable you’re called to love them and maybe you’re the person that’s hard to love and nobody’s showing up at your door to love you i’m sorry but jesus does love you and that thing that you did that was so bad can be forgiven if you seek forgiveness for it that’s how much you’re loved you see jesus sat in that room with his disciples and he knew that what he had to share with them was the cost of a love that had no end a love that goes all the way to the end and that kind of love is the kind of love that’s willing to get down on their hands and knees and wash the feet of those who might not deserve to have their feet washed i know i’m that person sometimes i know that i don’t deserve to have my feet washed but i know jesus did it for me anyway and i’m sure grateful for that and i pray today that you and i take the call to wash the feet of those who it’s hard to do that we take it seriously so that this world can be a different world so that the kingdom will come on this earth as it is in heaven let us pray god we thank you for loving us with the love that has no end god we thank you for sending your son to die on a cross to wash our feet so that we could be in relationship with you so that we could feel your love in such a way that we could share it with others who need it and god i pray that you give us the courage and the discernment and the wisdom and the ability to love people who are hard to love to love people who are impossible to love because it is through love that this world will change it is through love that your kingdom will come god help us to participate help us to be the hands and feet of god as you have called us to be the hands and feet of god it’s in the name of jesus that we pray amen

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