Sermon: Maundy Thursday

Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer robe,
and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin
and washed his disciples feet and dried them with a towel.
There is nothing too extraordinary about that really,
Jesus was only doing what many others had done before him.
It would normally be the role of the servant to wash the feet of guests,
Jesus simply chose to do it in their place.
It was just an ordinary everyday activity in that part of the world at that time.
As was breaking bread before a meal, especially at Passover.
Jesus didn’t invent that ritual, it was normal custom for that time.
Nothing unusual, nothing out of the ordinary was taking place,
just everyday daily tasks and rituals.

So what made this particular night so special? What made it different?
What made it so significant that we re-enact this night each year?
For me, the secret lies in the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta
that I included on the Lenten blog earlier this week. She wrote:

In this life we cannot do great things;
we can only do small things with great love.
It is not how much we do
but how much love we put into the doing.
And it is not how much we give
but how much love we put into the giving.
To God there is nothing small.

I love those words.
For me they sum up not only Holy Week
but the whole of Jesus life and ministry.
It is not what or how much we do that ultimately matters,
but how much love we put into it.
What made the washing of the disciple’s feet extraordinary,
special, and memorable
was not that Jesus took the role of a servant, we would expect nothing less,
he was always just as willing to serve as easily as he accepted the service of others.
what made it extraordinary, like everything else he ever did in life,
was the love through which he did it.

Jesus knew how to do small, insignificant, humble things with great love;
therefore nothing in his life was ever small or insignificant.
It was not his miracles, his teaching, or his actions
that were ultimately significant about his life.
There were many who claimed miracles,
there were dozens of itinerant preachers,
here were many who died through crucifixion and not all of them criminals.
What made Jesus stand out
was the love that he brought to everything he said and did.

It was love that brought Jesus to this world.
It was love that made him dedicate his life to others.
It was love that made him say “thy will be done” this night in Gethsemane;
It was love that took him to the cross;
and it is love that is at the heart of the resurrection that will celebrate on Easter day.

As we begin this Holy journey with our Lord to Easter morn,
may we open ourselves to that love,
and allow that love to be central to everything we are;
everything we say; and everything we do.
As Mother Teresa tells us:

It is not how much we do
but how much love we put into the doing.
And it is not how much we give
but how much love we put into the giving.