Friday, April 2, 2010

An Invitation to Journey to the Cross

You can understand Peter’s reaction to Jesus wanting to wash his feet.
You can understand why he says to Jesus, “you will never wash my feet.”
Jesus is his Lord and teacher.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world, the son of God.
No way should Jesus be washing feet.
Washing feet is the job of a servant or slave.
This is not something messiahs do.
Because Peter is taken by surprise he reacts negatively to what Jesus is doing.
For us now here tonight it all makes sense.
Of course Jesus would wash his disciple’s feet.
The Messiah is the one who humbly comes to give his life for us.
But that is because we live on this side of the cross.
Jesus tells Peter that someday he will understand.
After his death and resurrection Peter will understand just as we understand.

But here on this Maundy Thursday we are invited to be once again surprised by Jesus actions.
Once again we are invited into the journey that Jesus takes to the cross.
We are once again asked to ponder its profound meaning.
So that we are surprised that the one into whose hands all things had been given uses those hands to bend down in love and wash our feet.

Jesus expresses in this act all that we need to know about him.
That although he had equality with God he humbled himself to the point of a slave.
In doing he brings us into this journey we take with Jesus to the cross.
What a glorious act of love Jesus performs for his disciples.
In the reflection of the cross we see it even more clearly.

We can see it more clearly in our lives.
That Jesus washes our feet, is committed to us, and cares and loves us always.
For Jesus’ love for his disciples goes beyond merely having a good feeling about them.
It is deeper and wider than that, it is a love that is about no matter what.
That no matter what Jesus loves these disciples.
That even though there at the table is his betrayer, and denier.
Even though they all will flee, and hide in fear.
Jesus still loves them and washes all their feet.
Jesus’ love is astonishing because it is really a love that goes beyond what he may feel about them or what they are about to do.
It is a grace that says no matter what I love and care for you.
And that love and grace will come to a full completion as he opens his arms to all on the cross.

That is what Jesus is inviting Peter into at the table is the journey of the cross.
A Journey of sacrifice and love.
To be washed by Jesus means to be taken into the event of the cross and lead to see the depths of God’s love.
This is why Jesus tells Peter that “unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

On the cross Jesus shows us that there is no limit to that love.
No matter who we are.
No matter what we have done.
No matter where we have been.
God’s love is there for us.

Tomorrow night we will hear Jesus say while he is being crucified, “forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Even there in that moment Jesus is reaching out to forgive those who have spit in his face, mocked him, and are killing him.
This is a kind of love that surpasses our human understanding.
It is why Jesus gives his disciples this concrete example of that love so that they will better understand what he does on the cross.

I have a friend whose wife had an affair with her boss.
After he found out about it I went over to his apartment to talk to him.
I thought for sure when I got there he would tell me that his marriage was over.
To my surprise when I got to his apartment he told me he was willing to work it out with her.
He was willing to go to therapy and talk about their marriage and what went wrong.
He was even willing to admit that he made some mistakes.
I told him that he was a better man then me because I was not sure I could forgive such a thing.
But he said he could and he would work to save his marriage.
I could not fully comprehend what he was doing.
But after I thought about it I realized that he was showing me the meaning of love and commitment.

This is the kind of love and commitment that Jesus shows to his disciples and us.
It is a deep and strong.
It keeps no record of past wrongs.
It desires only our love and trust in return.
It is the kind of love we experience each and every week as we come to the Lord’s table to share in his body and blood.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
Do this to remember my love and commitment to you.
Do this to remember that your sins are forgiven.

That is what we do tonight.
We remember that Jesus invites us to journey to the cross.
We remember his humble giving of his life for us.

This week I was in the local coffee shop preparing for services this week.
And I was watching people come and go.
I saw people going about their daily routines of going to work, drinking coffee, and running errands.
I was wondering as I watched people go about their everyday work.
Did they remember what Jesus Christ did for them?
Did they remember the depths of Christ love?
Most people do not want to know about Christ death.
It is too gruesome for them.
It is too sad.
They like Easter of course.
They like the eggs and the good feelings.
But the part about sacrifice, the part about dying for others is too uncomfortable.
But here is the truth we can’t know the true joy of Easter morning without this part.
We can’t know the depths of God’s love without knowing what Jesus did for us on the cross.
If we want to fully realize and understand the depth and strength of God’s love then we have to remember the sacrifice, the humble service, the commitment to follow God’s path.
This is why Jesus washes his disciple’s feet so that they will have a clear example of what he does for them on the cross.
Jesus is preparing them and inviting them into the journey of the cross.

Tonight Jesus invites us into that journey.
Jesus washes our feet so that we might be ready for what is to come.
Jesus washes our feet so that we will remember the depths of his love for us.
Let us journey with Jesus to the cross so that we may remember in the depths of God’s love.

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