Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1)
NIGHTTIME DURING Holy Week becomes the dark before the dawn. The story of Jesus’ last week and final sacrifice chart a descent into the shadier corners of the human heart.
On the cusp of his passion, trial, torture, and slow execution, even as the wheels of betrayal had already been set in motion, Jesus instituted something we remember still. Love.
Kneeling down, he washed the feet of his friends. He served them. And he taught them about love. Knowing what was about to happen, he set in motion a practice that innumerable imperfect people through the centuries have continued to remember (however feebly) to this day: Love one another.
We must practice love, Jesus said. All of us.
Bankers and lawyers, preachers and teachers,
gossips and zealots, and secret betrayers,
cheaters and beaters, savers and spenders,
people on borders and people on benders,
bigots and goodies, robed men in white hoodies,
cowards and traitors, and bold dragon-slayers,
law breakers and keepers, back alley slinkers,
and, yes, even holier-than-thou-thinkers,
regardless of color, of shape, or of stripe,
regardless of party, or of their blood type,
people with money, people without it,
those who believe it and also who doubt it,
workers and bosses, people with losses,
deacons and dealers, and tv faith healers,
younger, older, meeker or bolder,
even a standing-nearby Roman soldier —
All of us.
All who in their own way have failed themselves or another, who are wounded or have caused hurt, have been lost or found, or betrayed or afraid, or angry or confused — all are welcomed by Christ to the wondrously open table of God’s redeeming love and hospitality.
We may look around and find ourselves in the midst of a bunch of imperfect strangers, and hopefully we may even see ourselves fitting in perfectly, because we are all children of God and in that way, welcome to God. In spite of ourselves. Maybe we can learn something here.
What wondrous love is this, O my soul?
Loving God, thank you for the love and grace you have extended to us most clearly seen in Jesus, who loved us to the end. Help me to become more like him. Amen.