Today is Maundy Thursday. Maundy coming from a Latin word (which I won’t bore you with) meaning “commandment” tonight in John 13, Jesus will reveal to us a new commandment “love one another as I have loved you.” Now I love Jesus, but I don’t do so well with commands.
Yes, commandments and commands are different, but I will totally admit my Americanized rebel hears Jesus telling me something I have to do and immediately wants to reply like an 8 year old, “Oh Yeah! Make me!”
But that’s the thing about Jesus, he’s not going to make me, he’s not going to require me to do anything, I don’t HAVE to follow him on this journey, I don’t HAVE to love others as he has loved me. But I should, and not just should I, but I should HAVE to.
You know that scene is The Break-up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn when they are fighting about the dishes? and she screams “I want you to want to do the dishes!” and he screams back, “Why would I WANT to do the dishes?”
This is what it’s like with Jesus and this greatest commandment. We should want to want to love others as Jesus has loved us. This shouldn’t have to be a commandment. And how does he show us how much he loves us? He washes their feet.
Yes, their dirty, nasty, smelly, sandal-wearing, desert walking, no pedicures in the 1st century feet.
Okay, I admit it, I don’t like feet. They smell and gross me out. Which is why it’s a perfect image for me. I admit I have never done a foot washing in any of my churches, and I use the excuse that others would not like it, but I admit it’s because I would not like it. I have had others grace me with the gift and it has not been as awkward as I thought it would be.
However, on this night something about this offering tugs at me. Now if you are coming to church tonight there will be no foot washing, but I know that as Jesus showed us an example, I should want to want to wash others feet. And not just that but some other thing that makes me uncomfortable, something that is completely opposite of societal rules, something so selfless that someone would like at me the way Peter did Jesus and say, “What are you nuts? No, never, it’s too grand, too massive of a gift, too humbling, I am too uncomfortable with such an offering”
After all my life, after all my study and preaching and reaching and teaching, I pray that just once, just once in my life I may have the grace to love others and Christ has loved me.