EAT, DRINK WASH AND LOVE
HANDS, FEET, BODY, AND BLOOD.
Maundy Thursday is a very special day and evening not only in our church, but in all the Christian Churches. Because the events and words that shaped and formed Maundy Thursday are at the very center of our Christian Faith.
Maundy Thursday begins The Three Days of Easter followed by Good Friday and Easter Sunday. As any dear and beloved child has many names, Maundy Thursday has many names in our Christian History: Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, or Thursday of Mysteries.
Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy derives from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase: A new commandment I give unto you: to love one another as I have loved you…. As we just heard from the Gospel according to John after the significance of the act of washing feet. Other theories that the English name Maundy Thursday arose from certain Maundy purses, small purses of alms which the King of England distrusted to poor before attending mass. Both theories do tie in with the essence of Maundy Thursday: to love and to serve.
The day has also been known in English as Sher Thursday meaning the bright or clean day. This name is still used throughout Scandinavia thus as Danish Skærtorsdag. Again, the name ties to the essence of this day as a bright clean pure day of sacrifice, service, and cleanse.
Love and service easily could be the main theme of today. And so, it is as we gather here in church for service and later at the table of fellowship and love.
Today we are reminded of our lives and our physical bodies. We are reminded that Christian Faith is not just words and faith, but even more bodies and acts.
We are reminded to eat and drink and fill our bodies with food for our body and soul.
We are reminded to wash the feet and love one another with service and compassion.
We are reminded that our lives are to eat, drink, wash and love.
We are reminded that our bodies are made of hands, feet, body, and blood.
And primarily, we are reminded that “We become what we receive….”
The readings today are filled with not only words but body. The body of Christ, share in the bread and the body of our neighbor’s literal feet to wash.
Both bodies are united at the table. Through the meal of community, unity, love and compassion we embody our Christian faith and hope.
We must eat to live, and we must eat together to become a community and a church.
We embody Christianity at the table. We physically feel our body when we leave the privacy of the pews, and we walk and kneel at the communion rail or as we tonight leave the privacy of the pews behind us, rise and walk and find our seat at the long beautiful purple table of love. We sit next to each other, side by side, shoulder by shoulder, body by body.
To share a meal is to share life.
To share a meal is to share time.
To share a meal is to unite.
For Jesus, this was simple and yet profound. When we obey the commandment, the mandate, to love one another as he loved us, then everyone will know that we are his disciples.
It makes sense.
I am quite sure that most of us have the same sense of unity, peace, community, and family when we are seated at our private dinner tables.
We sit down, we wait for all to be seated before we reach for the bread or the salad. We share the meal, the time, the sense of being family or friends.
We eat and drink, we not only feed our physical body with necessary fuel, we also feed our emotional and spiritual body with necessary fuel.
In the story of creation, it is said that it is not good for man to be alone…. And thus, we are reminded that it is not good for man to eat alone. To live alone. To be alone. We must share our lives, our meals, our times, our thoughts, and our touches.
It is not fun to be seated at a table embroiled with conflicts. It is not good to be seated at a table embroiled with bitterness, quarrels or awkward silence. And some of the best dinners I remember is not necessarily the best meals served or the most beautiful table decorations, but more the best conversations, the best mood, the best fellowship.
For Jesus, this it was indeed very simple and yet profound. When we obey the commandment, the mandate, to love one another as he loved us, then everyone will know that we are his disciples by the way we share, serve and live.
We are reminded tonight that our lives are to eat, drink, wash and love.
We are reminded tonight that our bodies are made of hands, feet, body, and blood. Of beating hearts, laughing mouths, gentle touches, and warm embraces.
Eat, drink, wash and love. Hands, feet, body, and blood. We are indeed reminded tonight on the night when Christ was betrayed, we are reminded that we are not abandoned or alone.
Christ is here with us. Seated with us. Present in the bread and the wine. Present in the words. Present in his grace and in his forgiveness. Exactly what we need besides food and drink and water at our tables.
Jesus sat here before us. And he still invites us to sit with him and share with him.
Jesus sat and ate with many though his time. Often, he shares the table and the food with those who were despised, not invited, non-gratia.
Jesus, did you send the betrayer away, but he embraced even his betrayal and betraying kiss, with a prayer.
Jesus invites us to eat with him – and eat with others. And we ask Jesus to teach us to receive the grave of forgiveness and to hand the grace of forgiveness to the others too. For we become what we receive….
Tonight, at the purple table, tonight in the candlelight, tonight seated side by side, we are given the brad of heaven and the blood of life.
And we pray that we never forget that Jesus invites us and sits with us and that he sits with us here in church and each time we break bread and share wine together.
eat, drink, wash and love. hands, feet, body, and blood. Jesus gave himself and gives himself, his body, and his blood. And from this table and this moment we can rise and leave and go out and into the day of our lives. His body and his blood strengthens our faith in his love and fills us with hope.
In this meal we taste your sweetness,
bread for hunger, wine of peace
Holy word and holy wisdom
Satisfy our deepest needs.
In our living and our dying
We become what we receive.