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  • Writer's pictureDiana Wright

To Love One Another: The Gospel of Service

Maundy Thursday 13 Apr 2017

Ten years ago, my mother passed on the Friday before Palm Sunday. She had been suffering from severe dementia for a few years and had, I believe, been wanting to die for some time. She and my father were at the Iowa Veteran’s Home. I spend the day before she died with her but needed to go home that night. The staff said that, when someone was dying, they always made sure someone was with the person, sitting at the bedside, if family or friends could not be there. And, though I was not there when she died, someone was. Neither of my parents had a close affiliation with a church at that point, so it fell to my priest to help prepare the service right at the start of Holy Week. Now, as a cleric myself, I am not sure now she did it. But she did. And for that I am grateful, as I am for the many things that have been done for me over the years. It is all about love in the end. This night is one that we remember and ponder the institution of and the very mystery of the Lord’s supper, which is above all else, a banquet to be shared with one another as we taste what it is like to participate at that heavenly banquet. For Ortho-doxy, it is a journey into the holy and sacred. For Western Christianity, it is many things to many people, but certainly a remembrance and a memorial and something much more. You cannot make Eucharist un-less you have at least two people. I asked tonight that we have Eucha-rist around the alter because it is that sharing and that equalization that we all have with one another, through Christ, that is so central to Eucharist. Look at one another and what you will see is Christ. The Gospel of John, always read tonight, tells us something even be-yond that sharing and the making of a community: the command that makes us like truly Christ like, to serve one another. Friendship is ser-vice and the willingness to do the task that the least would do for the greatest. I think if I asked each of you if you would be willing to clean the bathroom, all of you would say yes. No one who has cared for an infant or toddler balks at the fact that they need to be cleaned in plac-es you don’t want to go. That is being Christ and seeing Christ in each and every person. Both an agape meal and foot washing are the stuff of Maundy Thurs-day. Jesus, God incarnate, has said, “I call you friends.” We are told to love the Lord our God with all our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Maundy Thursday takes the theory and gives it flesh. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

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