Friday, April 22, 2011

The World Is Being Turned Upside Down!

What was this thing that was happening?
What was Jesus doing?
The world was being turned upside down.
The one whom the disciples called “Lord” and “Teacher” was washing their feet, a job usually reserved for a servant.
It was inconceivable that Jesus would do this.
Something was happening, but they were not exactly sure what it was.
It is no wonder that Peter does not want Jesus to touch his feet he is confused.
The world was being turned upside down.

Tonight is the beginning of the drama that leads us to Easter.
Tonight is the start of something big.
Something earth shattering.
I wonder if we can feel it too?
Are we ready to have God move us?
Are we ready to have Jesus touch our feet?
Those of us who have heard this story many times can we hear it for the earth shaking story that it is.
Nothing after this night would be the same.
Nothing after what was going to happen in the next three days would be the same.
Those with authority would be the ones who would serve.
Death would mean life, up would be down, sin would mean forgiveness.
Even God’s Son was going to be a servant.

Tonight is not only about the institution of the last supper.
It is not only about Jesus redefining the meaning of Passover.
Tonight is about the world turning upside down as Jesus does something new.
Tonight is about a new commandment.
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another.”
This is a real radical commandment of Jesus.
It is more than merely, “love your neighbor as yourself.”
In this new commandment we are to love as Jesus loves.
Jesus loves us to the end.
Through our sin, our imperfections, our deep down failures Jesus loves us.
He loves the disciples even though they betray, deny, and flee from him.
He loves his accusers and crucifiers.
He loves the world that rejects and hates him.

To love as Jesus loves is a radical proposition.
It means to love even when someone else does not return that love in kind.
I have given up all too often on people because I felt that they were not putting in the same kind of effort I was.
It means to love someone even when they do something that hurts us.
I have lost friends because they hurt me in some way and I found it hard to keep that friendship going.
What is amazing about Jesus is that he loves us through all these things.
Despite the ways we fail God Jesus still calls us his friends.
Even though we don’t always do what we are supposed to or act the way we should.
Jesus gives everything for us.

Tonight is about a new commandment to love as Jesus loves.
It might appear on the surface that this is just another commandment that we will break.
It is more than that it is the flowing of God’s grace from us.
It is what happens to us when we allow Jesus to wash our feet and touch the unclean places of our lives.
If we know that God loves us to the end through all things and in all things it becomes who we are to extend that same grace to others in our lives.

This is what Jesus is talking about with his disciples.
That they are not merely to be good people, but that they are to people of grace.
As Christians, we are who we are not because we are following some law, but because we can recognize our own need for grace.
This is what happens when Jesus turns our world upside down.
This is what happens when we allow Jesus to touch the unclean parts of our life God’s love overflows in us.

That is what Holy week can do for us help us recognize our need for grace.
It is life shattering and moving.
It turns our world upside down and helps us to see again with new eyes.
Instead of seeing our lives a series of has to and demands, Jesus helps us to see the world filled with grace.
When Jesus washes our feet we see our lives so filled with grace that our cup runs over and pours out into those around us.

That is what this meal is about.
This meal that Jesus gives to us is about Jesus touching the sinful part of our lives.
Paul retells what was given to him, not a ritual per se, but a new way of being.
One of the reasons Paul is writing to the Church in Corinth is because people were practicing the ritual of communion but not extending God’s love to each other.
Paul is upset with the church because when they would come together to eat some would eat more than others, and some people would even go home hungry and this was causing division.
Paul wants the meal to be about the love we share with one another in God, not about who has more status or who has more than someone else.
When we eat this meal we all receive the same thing.
Everyone receives the same amount of bread and wine, because it is about our love and concern for each.
We celebrate this meal together because in it we all come to know our need for God’s forgiveness.
It is a meal where we realize our need for grace.

That is what this act of the foot washing is really about.
It is about Jesus washing the dirty places of our lives with love.
I know that I am always a little embarrassed to have my feet washed because I have some really nasty disgusting feet.
Usually I can hide them in shoes and socks, but not tonight.
Tonight I hope we allow Jesus to wash your feet.
When allow Jesus to touch the parts of our lives that are not clean we can better live in God’s grace and know God’s love.
Tonight will you let Jesus into the places in your lives that you hide that you don’t want anyone else to know about because then you will be a bad Christian?
Will we let Jesus into our pain and heartache?
Will we let Jesus touch us with his love?
These are the places that Jesus comes to wash.
Jesus knows that none of us are clean that we all need washing.
The amazing thing is that he loves us anyway.
That Jesus loves us to the end.

Tonight the world is being turned upside down the one we call Lord is coming to touch our lives and wash away the dirty parts of our lives.
Are we ready for the world to move?
Are we ready for Jesus to change us and overflow our lives with love and grace?

Get ready because God is moving and changing the world, and changing our lives every day with the love and grace offered in Jesus Christ.

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