SERMON FOR MAUNDY THURSDAY

Perhaps one of the most agonising things about being human
is our ability to do or say something that we later deeply regret,
knowing there is absolutely nothing we can do to undo what has been done or said.
There are moments when we would give anything to rewind time
To go back to that moment before we screwed up and have the chance to do things differently.              
But life doesn’t work that way, does it?

On this holy night I wonder what Judas or Peter would have given to rewind time?
Words of betrayal and denial that they knew Jesus took with him to the cross.
How can you feel anything but compassion and sorrow for Judas,
who, for whatever reason, set in motion such a tragic series of events?
Or for Peter who wanted to be a hero but became frozen by fear?

Judas could not live with the aftermath and took his own life;
Peter’s denial was redeemed, but who knows the anguish he must have gone through.
And yet, it was this betrayal and denial that also set in motion the events
that would eventually show us the only way to redeem our careless actions and words.

In the events that will unfold again in the coming days we will experience once more
Jesus taking our fragile human nature to new heights and possibility.
We can never undo what has been done but Jesus showed us that through love
our failures can be transformed and woven into something new and positive.

Jesus took all our failures, messes, and catastrophes to the cross of Good Friday
And there held them before God in the most profound and wonderful love.
On the cross he embraced human vulnerability with such a powerful compassion
That heaven’s love poured, and overflowed, and saturated this world with its wonder.

While we cannot put the clock back we do not have to live in an endless loop
of regret, recrimination, guilt, resentment and hopelessness.
Our human fragility has been embraced and saturated in divine love,
and all we have to do is surrender to that love, and allow it to guide us ….
on how to forgive ourselves and others.

This holy night is dominated by human weakness and failure; by betrayal and denial;
that took an innocent and holy man to the cross.
And yet God took that weakness and failure, that betrayal and denial;
transformed it by love, and used it to bring healing and salvation to a broken world.

We cannot undo the mess and chaos we so often create,
but we can surrender it to God who has a knack not only of transforming it,
but also somehow using it as an opportunity for healing and redemption.