It is Holy Week. In fact it is the end of Holy Week, which means that folks who work in the church are super stressed and busy. And folks who take the church year thing seriously are in church a LOT this week.
Yesterday, we heard and remembered Jesus’ Last Supper. What is often glossed over in those passages is pretty significant in my book. Yes, a sacrament is a pretty significant thing. Afterall, I as a woman wasn’t allowed to preside over a sacrament until the 1970′s, it was such a significant thing.
But the at least as significant thing, and the one that we gloss over, because it’s so much harder is the new commandment and the example Jesus gave us that night. He washed his friends’ feet, a job if done by anyone but the owner of the feet was given to a servant. It’s not the kind of a job a high muckity-muck would do. They’d get someone else to do it. (And I spent some time wondering about having someone else do my laundry.)
But Jesus did it himself for his friends. Insisted. And then explained it was an example of how we should treat one another. With humble service (not being a doormat) and love. In fact, not only as much love as you give yourself (the Golden Rule) but “as I have loved you.”
There’s a hymn text by Brian Wren that we sang last night, but it’s copyrighted and protected and I don’t have time to get permissions. If you’re really interested it’s called “Great God your love has called us” and I found a site that has gotten permission to reprint the text. You could click over there and read it. Especially the second stanza hit me pretty hard these days. “We come with self-inflicted pains/of broken trust and chosen wrong….By social forces swept along…Yet seeking hope for humankind.” It’s a very powerful hymn I think, because it talks plainly about our current circumstances at the end of the 20th/ beginning of the 21st century.
We sang this hymn too.
Love Consecrates the Humblest Act
1 Love consecrates the humblest act
and haloes mercy’s deeds;
it sheds a benediction sweet
and hallows human needs.
2 When in the shadow of the cross
Christ knelt and washed the feet
of his disciples, he gave us
a sign of love complete.
3 Love serves and willing stoops to serve;
what Christ in love so true
has freely done for one and all,
let us now gladly do!
Text: Silas B. McManus, c. 1902, alt.