Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Pentecost, Year C June 9, 2019 The Day of Pentecost, Year C Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27
Easter 7, Year C June 2, 2019 The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C Psalm 97, Acts 16:16-34, John 17:20-26
Easter 6, Year C May 26, 2019 Easter 6, Year C John 14:23-29
Easter 5, Year C May 19, 2019 Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C John 13:31-35
Easter 4, Year C May 12, 2019 Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C Psalm 23; John 10:22-30
Easter 3, Year C May 5, 2019 Third Sunday of Easter, Year C John 21:1-19
Easter 2, Year C April 28, 2019 Easter 2, Year 2 John 20:19-31
Easter Sunday, 2019 April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday John 20:1-18
Good Friday, 2019 April 19, 2019 Good Friday John 18:1-19:42
Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019 April 18, 2019 Maundy Thursday John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Palm Sunday, Year C April 14, 2019 Palm Sunday, Year C Luke 23:26
Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C April 7, 2019 Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C John 12:1-8
Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C March 31, 2019 Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year C 2019 Joshua 5:9-12;Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Third Sunday in Lent, Year C March 24, 2019 Third Sunday in Lent, Year C Luke 13:1-9
Second Sunday in Lent, Year C March 17, 2019 Second Sunday in Lent, Year C Luke 13:31-35,Philippians 3:17-4:1


Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sermon Date:April 18, 2019

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

Liturgy Calendar: Maundy Thursday

“Last Supper” – Leonardo DaVinci (1498)

We’ve been invited to dinner.

And our host is Jesus, who has set the table for us, and the food is the most intimate food we could ever imagine, his own body and blood, given for us. 

And if that weren’t enough, inviting us as the host to share a meal with him,

Jesus also offers to wash our feet, which normally before a dinner we would do for ourselves, or a slave would come and wash our feet for us. 

But at this dinner, Jesus himself, our host, is also our servant, insisting that he be the one to wash our feet. 

This act is more than simply reminding us that to love one another with God’s own love, we must serve one another with sacrificial love—

In addition, Jesus is welcoming us into his own home, which is in God. 

Jesus has come from God and is going to God, and so Jesus makes sure that even though we cannot go, in this life, to where he is going, that we will always be with him and he will always be with us, even as we wait for him to return. 

And so he invites us to this meal at his heavenly Father’s table, the banquet table of God.

And he welcomes us as God welcomes us, with humility, and as one who serves, by washing our feet.

So tonight, and every time we gather to eat this bread and to drink from this cup, we proclaim the fact that Jesus was here with us, that he is here with us now, and that we will be with him when he comes again in glory. 

This dinner and this footwashing remind us to look within and to look out beyond ourselves, into the world. 

This dinner and this footwashing remind us to look within, because none of us are worthy to sit at God’s table, and none of us are worthy to have Jesus wash our feet, and yet, the grace of Christ, the love he has for each one of us that we did nothing to earn, means that Jesus welcomes us to his table, not only as the host but as one who serves. 

And so we come to this table in deep humility, and also with an expansive thanksgiving and joy that yes, Jesus is welcoming us, with all our imperfections,  into God’s own house every time we come to this table.

And when we know that God welcomes each one of us, as imperfect as we are, then we can love one another, even as we are frequently aware of one another’s imperfections! 

If God can love me, with my sins and shortcomings, then I can love you, even if you get on my nerves, or make me angry.  I can love you anyway, because after all, God loves me! 

This dinner and this footwashing also remind us to look without. 

We must always remember that because God welcomes us to  God’s own table and to God’s own house, we, the disciples, are now the ones to welcome others to God’s house and home, by inviting all to the table, and by serving as Jesus himself would serve.

We know that God’s home is in the world as well as in God’s divine realm because Jesus was here, in this world, in a physical body. 

Jesus suffered and died, just as every living thing on this earth will at some point suffer and die. 

So we know that because Jesus was at home here on earth, God’s home is here with us, as well as in the divine world that we cannot yet see with our physical eyes.  But God’s ongoing presence with us  can suddenly become visible in our midst by the ways in which we welcome and the ways in which we serve. 

God’s presence became visible in the Hyatt’s dining area today as I washed the feet of my book group, and then washed the feet of  Cynthia, who works there, and who agreed to have her feet washed. 

She and I had a long conversation about God afterwards.  She told me how she and her mother had taken their breakfast of fruit down to the beach on the last day of their vacation,  and after breakfast they had gone swimming in the ocean,  and how God had received her mother, who drowned,  and saved Cynthia’s life after the two of them were washed out to sea.  “I don’t know how I got to shore,” she said.    “One minute, all I could see was ocean, everywhere I looked, and then I was on shore.”  “God pulled me out of the water,” she said. And then Cynthia went back into the ocean and brought her mother’s body back to the beach. 

At that moment, we could see God’s saving grace visible right there in the Hyatt.  God welcoming Cynthia’s mother home to God’s heavenly banquet table, and God providing continuing life for Cynthia in God’s home here, until Cynthia joins God and her mother at the banquet table in God’s divine realm. 

God visible and powerful presence was right there, and we both gave thanks. 

So tonight, God gives us the joy of knowing that we are at home already, dining at God’s table already, and that God is serving us as treasured guests at this table, until we come to sit at God’s heavenly banquet table.    

Now, God gives us the joy of going out and making God’s presence felt and visible out in the world.

And God’s presence becomes visible, God in our midst, when we welcome one another and serve one another with God’s love. 

Jesus told the disciples, “Little children, I am with you only a little longer…..Where I am going, you cannot come.  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

So may we love one another as we wash one another’s feet,

and may we love one another as we gather round God’s table here in this place tonight,

and may our love for one another make God’s presence visible and powerful out in the world. 


References:  Boring, Eugene and Fred Craddock. .  The People’s New Testament Commentary.  “Excursus:  The Lord’s Supper in the New Testament”, pages 533-534  Louisville, KY:  Westminster John Knox Press, 2004. 

The New Interpreter’s Bible,Vol IX, Luke, John.  “The Gospel of John.”  Gail R. O’Day.  Nashville, TN.  Abingdon Press, 1995.