The Daily Office | March 29, 2018
Psalms 139, 140
Psalms 141, 142, 143
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: Maundy Thursday
Almighty Father, whose most dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it in thankful remembrance of Jesus Christ our Savior, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Today is Maundy Thursday, the day on which we remember Jesus’s Last Supper with his disciples. On this day, John 13 tells us that Jesus interrupted the meal he was sharing by getting down on his hands and knees to wash his disciples’ feet. If you have ever been to a foot washing service, you know it is an incredibly humbling experience. Many people find it difficult to have their feet washed by another because of the vulnerability that is involved. The stench and filth of your feet are exposed in this moment as someone takes your feet in their hands, gently washing them clean. We work diligently to present a lovely and attractive picture of ourselves to others, and yet in a foot washing service this picture is destroyed.
On Maundy Thursday, Jesus is the one who knelt down to wash his disciples’ feet. He is the one who took the filth of his disciples into his hands to make them clean. When he finishes washing their feet, he exclaims, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (v14). Jesus invites his disciples to follow his example of humility. This is especially striking coming the night before he dies. If we are to follow the example of Jesus’s humility as our “Lord and Teacher,” we must not stop with washing the feet of others. We must continue following him to the cross.
Loving like Jesus means selflessly laying down one’s life for the sake of others. This is not something we can do in our own strength. Instead, we must rely on the love of Christ, which God pours into our hearts when we turn to him (Rom 5:5). Through the Holy Spirit, God fills our hearts with the same love that held Jesus to the cross. Through the Holy Spirit, then, we can love others just as Christ loves them. As this season of Lent comes to an end, meditate on Christ’s sacrifice for us, and pray that God would lead you to serve others with this same love that Christ displayed on the cross.