We are here tonight to claim and celebrate our identity as a community of disciples beloved by Jesus. We’re not here as outcasts from any denomination, family, religious, social, political circle, or nation. And we are not here as a collection of individual believers, but a people actively listening, and serving one another in love.
For the young people among us, and anyone here this night for the first time, I would emphasize that this worship is not the Easter equivalent of a Christmas pageant. No live animals, no costumes, no auditions! There are only 2 roles, and each of you is invited to be both: have your feet washed, and wash someone else’s. Don’t be shy; it’s just us: people trying to follow Jesus; trying to become better friends. Not ‘hey’ friends, but the kind who others can tell really love and care for one other.
Look around at us; take in the faces both familiar and new. In this place we are being shaped, week after week into disciples, engaged in Jesus’ work of transforming the world through love. This is our heritage! And this is our Joy.
The community of beloved disciples of John was one with women often at the very center. Strong and wise women, who spoke fearlessly to Jesus and became his friends -over the grumbling of the men in his circle,
One of these women was Mary. Having often listened to Jesus’ teaching, and witnessing his raising of her brother Lazarus from the dead, she knelt before him and anointed his feet, drying them with her hair. Jesus validated this intimate gesture, and included her among the disciples for the love she showed him.
At table before his death, Jesus took this act he had experienced at the grateful hands of a woman named Mary, and made it his own. And not only for that night. This act of mutual honoring among friends became Jesus’ commandment to all who would be his disciples:
Do as I have done. Love one another. Now this commandment has been passed to us, over some 666 generations.
We break and share bread weekly, anoint the newly baptized and those who are sick with oil throughout the year. But only on Maundy Thursday do we follow the specific command of to do as Jesus did by washing one another’s feet.
We do so in honoring one another’s lives and shared stories; We kneel in desire for a stronger bond between us, and for ever deepening faith as a worshipping and serving assembly.
We gently hold the feet of those who are weary or in pain, for courage;
and pour the water of welcome over those we don’t know well, in hospitality and invitation. We carefully dry the feet of those whom we may have hurt in any way, and
Importantly, we accept the same from those who do likewise for us.
I invite you to join in as fully as you can. This is our night-in real time- to encounter the risen Jesus with unique intimacy. We enter further into his life, and human history moves further into the transforming justice of the new creation. These encounters reveal Jesus, Jezi Kri, Jesùs Cristo: Jesu, Joy of allour desiring.
Let us Pray: (God in Mercy, Hear our Prayer)
For Christians throughout the world, especially those in danger of violence. May they be kept safe and free to worship in this Holy Week and Easter Season. May these celebrations renew their faith, love and courage, let us pray.
For our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers, that they may also worship and live free from violence, oppression, and discrimination, let us pray.
For an end to war, and a redirection of our national resources to the poor and to the healing and protection of the environment, let us pray.
For what else shall we pray?
For these prayers, and all those in our Book of Intentions and those yet in our hearts, let
us turn in complete trust to our loving God. In the name of Jesus, who came as our friend,
and lifts us all to share in his resurrection, Amen.