Holy Week blessings to all of you!
This is my favorite week of the year. It is incredibly reflective, meaningful, and usually warmer than Christmas! I think Resurrection Sunday is my favorite holiday. But I love the reflection leading up to Sunday during Holy Week.
Today is Maundy Thursday. Growing up, I had never even heard that term, but it came to mean so much to me as I learned more about it. Today is the day we reflect on the last moments Jesus spent with his Disciples before being arrested.
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. – John 13:1 (NIV)
The full extent of his love. What a beautiful phrase. Of course we know that the full extent of Jesus’ love was his willingness to die for us. But I also think it is purposeful that the phrase “full extent of his love” appears just before Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Foot-washing was the task of servants. How beautiful that the king of kings set the ultimate example of service by humbling himself, kneeling on the ground, and washing dirty feet. He could have just left it at that – an example. But he knows how simple and full of excuses we can be, so he specifically tells us what we are to do. He tells us to follow his example, saying:
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” – John 13:13-15 (NIV)
What?! Jesus, you want me to was HER feet? She’s so dirty! And HIS? Gross, he smells! Do you know the terrible things he has done?! Let’s face it. Every single one of us has the filth of this world on us in one way or another. Jesus lovingly washes it off. He showed the ultimate humility in the full extent of his love. How can we dare to think we are ‘above’ serving those we see as dirty or sinful, when Jesus himself washed the feet of sinners?
Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice – his own life. Good Friday services were also never a part of my childhood. For whatever reason, they were not commonplace in our area. During college, some friends and I decided to attend all of the Holy services. We were so determined that we actually pushed my friend’s car out of its parking spot since none of us knew how to drive a stick shift, but that’s another story! The Friday service was called the Service of Darkness. And that it was. It was very dark, except for a couple candles. And it was silent. In the next moment the silence was broken by hand bells softly playing “Were you There when They Crucified My Lord?” Once again, I was mesmerized by the beauty and the majesty of that quiet moment. It is times like these during which the holiness is almost tangible. I’m struggling to put it into words. But I think that’s the point. Sometimes the Holy cannot be put into words. But you cannot help but recognize it. The Holy is also present during loud Hosannas, which we will hear on Resurrection Sunday, but sometimes we need the silence to connect with God on a level deep within ourselves.
Be still and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10 (NIV).
This Holy season, be still and reflect on the full extent of Christ’s love. Remember that he calls us to follow his example. Be blessed into silence, awe, and wonder. And sing your loud Hallelujah’s on Sunday!