Maundy Thursday, 2018

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Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C January 27, 2019 Third Sunday after Epiphany Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 1; Corinthians 12:12-31a;Luke 4:14-21
Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C January 20, 2019 Second Sunday after the Epiphany John 2:1-11
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The Epiphany January 6, 2019 The Epiphany, Year C Matthew 2:1-12
Christmas Eve, Year C December 24, 2018 Christmas Eve, Year C Luke 2:1-20
Advent 3, Year C December 16, 2018 Third Sunday of Advent, Year C Luke 3:7-18
Advent 2, Year C December 9, 2018 Advent 2, Year C Baruch 5:1-9, Luke 3:1-6
Advent 1, Year C December 2, 2018 The First Sunday in Advent, Year C 2018 Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Psalm 25:1-9, Luke 21:25-36
Christ the King Sunday, Year B November 25, 2018 Christ the King, Last Pentecost John 18:33-37, Revelation 1:4b-8
Pentecost 26, Year B November 18, 2018 Proper 28, Year B Daniel 12:1-3, Psalm 16, Hebrews 10:11-25, Mark 13: 1-8
Pentecost 25, Year B November 11, 2018 Proper 27, Year B 1 Kings 17:8-16, Psalm 146, Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 12:38-44
All Saints, Year B November 4, 2018 All Saints’ Day, Year B Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-a; John 11:32-44
Pentecost 23, Year B October 28, 2018 Proper 25, Year B Mark 10:46-52
Pentecost 22, Holy Eucharist II, Year B October 21, 2018 Proper 24, Year B Psalm 91:9-16, Hebrews 5:1-10, Mark 10:35-45
Pentecost 21, Year B October 14, 2018 21st Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 23, Year B Mark 10:17-31


Maundy Thursday, 2018

Sermon Date:March 29, 2018

Scripture: John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Liturgy Calendar: Maundy Thursday, March 29, 2018

“By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I have a real life foot washing story for you tonight from the 2016 Winter/Spring edition of Bostonia, the alumni magazine of Boston University.  The title of the article is “Street Doctor,” by Barbara Moran. 

Jim O’Connell, who is a member of the Boston University School of Medicine faculty, planned a medical career in oncology, but after completing medical school at Harvard and then a residency at Massachusetts General Hospital—that’s seven years’ worth of training–he decided to work for a year at a handful of health clinics for the homeless in Boston.

Turns out that “he’s spent his entire medical career as a street doctor, caring for homeless people on the sidewalks, benches, and under the bridges where they live.”

The first day he started working at one of the clinics for the homeless, The Pine Street Inn, he went in thinking, “I’m going to be cherished, because I’m a doctor.”

Before he knew it, nurse Barbara McInnis disabused him of that idea.  She pointed out that the nurses had been there a long time doing their work without the help of the doctors or the hospitals. 

She took away his stethoscope, and told him to go soak the patients’ feet in the waiting room.  She said, “This is not about doctoring….it’s about getting to know people.”

And so Jim soaked feet.  He soon realized how extraordinary the work was, because “it reversed the power structure.”  It put him at the feet of the people that he was taking care of—he would say hello and soak their feet, and some of them would say hello back, and some of them wouldn’t.  But over time, almost everyone started talking with him, and he realized that being present and consistent gave the people a chance to open up. 

In the article, Jim shares the story of one particular patient that the police or emergency medical services would bring to the emergency room for treatment.  Jim had often tried to treat this man in the emergency room.  The man refused to do what the doctors asked, and they had given up on him, considering him to be treatment resistant. 

So when this man came to the Pine Street Inn, Jim soaked his feet, and this went on for several weeks.  One day the man looked down at Jim and said to him, “Hey, I thought you were supposed to be a doctor.”  And Jim said “Yes, I am a doctor.”  The man replied, “Then why are you soaking feet?”  And Jim said, “Because the nurses told me to do this.”  And the homeless guy says, "Boy, you’re a smart man.” 

It wasn’t too many days later when this man started talking with Jim and asked if Jim could prescribe him something to help him sleep.  Jim says that this was the beginning of getting the man on medication that actually helped him, and after twenty-five years of being homeless, he was able to move into a group home—after two and a half months of the doctor soaking his feet. 

Jim says in summary—“there’s a shared brokenness in humanity…getting close to people and understanding how courageous they are given their brokenness, that made me recognize lots of things about myself, and it made the distance between us less and less as time went on.”

Jesus spent his entire life on earth reversing power structures through the things he did—eating with sinners, casting out demons, courageously speaking up and demanding that those in authority in the temple eliminate the destructive corruption that was destroying the temple.    

On that last night with his disciples, Jesus took away the “stethoscopes” of the disciples.  As he washed their feet, he showed them, through his actions, that they wouldn’t need power, or prestige, or recognition, or wealth to be his disciples.  They wouldn’t need to distance themselves from one another through a hierarchy.  Not one of them needed to be first.      

What they would need to be his disciples in the world, and all we will need as his disciples is simply to love one another, in all our brokenness and imperfections, as Jesus loved us–

To get down on our knees in our brokenness, and to soak one another’s feet. 




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