Maundy Thursday, 9th April 2020 Opening Prayer Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do also for you: give us the will to be the servant of others as you were the servant of all, and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reign, now and for ever. Amen. Gospel Reading: John 13.1-14 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. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?' Jesus answered, 'You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.' Peter said to him, 'You will never wash my feet.' Jesus answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.' Simon Peter said to him, 'Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!' Jesus said to him, 'One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.' For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, 'Not all of you are clean.' After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord - and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.'
Reflection Jesus and his disciples have met to eat supper together. We can imagine that the shouts of the crowd on Palm Sunday are still ringing in the disciples' ears. They are wondering what will happen when, as they hope, Jesus leads a revolution against the hated Roman occupiers. Which of them will be his right-hand men, his trusted seconds-in-command, when he comes into his kingdom? But then Jesus does something astonishing. He takes a towel and a basin of water, kneels down and tenderly washes the disciples' dusty feet. It's a task that belongs to a servant, not a king. And then, at the table, he shares bread and wine and says to them 'This is my body, broken for you, and my blood, shed for you'. He is showing them that the values that matter in his kingdom are service and sacrificial love. 'Love one another' he tells them, 'as I have loved you'. There is an ancient hymn that been sung in churches on this night through the centuries: 'Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est'. 'Wherever there is compassion and love, God is there'. So let's give thanks for the compassion and love we see around us at the moment - in the doctors, nurses and medical students caring for the sick in the NHS; in the community of volunteers here in Lewes and across the nation, and in our friends and neighbours. And let's use the words of another hymn - a modern one, this time - as a prayer for one another. Brother, Sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you; Pray that I may have the grace to Let you be my servant too. I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear; I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear. I will weep when you are weeping; When you laugh, I'll laugh with you I will share your joy and sorrow till we've seen this journey through. Amen.