It is a gray and rainy day in Columbus - which really is a good day for Maundy Thursday.
This is the time in which the forces are coming together and Jesus knows it. In many ways it is a reminder of the betrayal, violence, and darkness that is part of the world. And it is part of our world. As I write this I hear news about the murder suicide of a pilot and his passengers in Germany, about the murders and kidnapping of Christians in Kenya, about countries trying reach agreements about Iran's nuclear program. about shootings here in Columbus - the most recent a man killing his ex wife and her brother in broad daylight downtown. I guess we know about betrayal, violence, and darkness today.
The scriptures speak to me the most important parts of our faith. There are three important understandings for me today.
1. The last supper - It begins - "on the night when he was betrayed." This meal is light in the darkness of the world. And for me, I always think about the presence of our Lord in the bread and the cup. Presence is so important when we go through times of darkness - we are not alone. We are never alone. And that gives me peace.
2. The foot washing of the disciples in John. It begins like this:" Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." He loved them to the end. He then comes in all vulnerability - removing his cloak and kneeling at the feet of his disciples and washes their feet - all of them - even Judas. He e very clearly says: "So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you." And what I ponder is that the footwashing includes - washing the feet of the man who will betray him.
3. The last text they give today is the one I mentioned yesterday - the final commandment that has been demonstrated and is not explicitly given. "’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”"
And so on this gray day in this sometimes dark world, we who follow Jesus know that He is present with us in the living of our lives and this call to follow is clear. Very clear. We are to love one another in the midst of violence and betrayal, as a candle in a dark and brutal world.
Jesus knows that he is leaving - but it is with his followers and the power of our love - which is action and not sentiment - the light shines, the world is elevated. This message of the gospel continues.