4 Maundy Thursday Having given all things into his hands…
Exodus 12, 1 Corinthians 11, John 13
1. Upper Room
The readings for today, Maundy Thursday, are from Exodus 12, the Passover, 1 Corinthians 11, the Lord’s instruction to break read in his name until he comes, and from John 13. On Maundy Thursday the clergy of the diocese gather with the bishop to receive the oil of chrism that they will use for the coming year.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. John 13
Jesus Christ is free, for God is free. He is so free, he is free even to do the things that we most associate with loss of freedom. Our Lord did not regard divinity as something that has to be clung on to, but taking the inconspicuous form of a servant, made himself nothing (Philippians 2).
This servant-status, this priestly deaconate, is for those who in Christ have had ‘all things given into their hands’. This weight of glory is yours. It releases you. Now you do not need to busy yourself first with your own affairs before turning with whatever energy you have left, to help others. You do not need to look for glory or confirmation, for you have it, and need never concern yourself about it again. You have been released from concern about your own identity.
You have been forgiven. Just as your life is no longer yours to live alone, so your problems and your sin is not your own any longer. You are free to seek more and more of that forgiveness, and to do so with greater and great abandon, more and more publicly. You are free to confess your sins and to lead the rest of us in letting go of our own sins. You may be the most care-free of people.
This means that you are free – for others. You are servants, deacons, waiters-at-table, fetchers and carriers. You will wait at hospital beds, anoint the dying, find words of comfort for the frightened and anguished. You will baptize and teach, you will hear confession, you will marry and bury. You will explain the inexplicable to the baffled, the bored and resentful.
Continue reading “Holy Week 4 Maundy Thursday Having given all things into his hands…”