Our Lenten Devotion for Holy/Maundy Thursday, April 14, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
1 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. John 13:1
“The End is Near”
“Knowing that your hour has come to pass from this world to your Father and having loved me, you now love me to the end. You give me everything that you have and are. You pour out for me your very self. All the love that you carry for me in your heart now become manifest. You wash my feet and then give me your own body and blood as food and drink.”
(from Heart Speaks to Heart, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 27-28Henri)
Jesus knew the end was near. His hour had come to return to the Father. However, the glories of heaven were far from his mind in the upper room. Jesus knew that the next day would bring unimaginable suffering, sorrow and separation. But first he performed two far-reaching acts of love. Jesus humbly washed the feet of his surprised disciples, giving them and us a touching example of selfless service. Then he instituted a simple but extraordinary meal that would become a central part of our worship life. These were only prelude to his greatest act of love. On Calvary’s cross, Jesus loved us to the bitter end, absorbing into himself all of our sin and guilt, so that we might live with him to our blessed end, when we will go to spend eternity with him.
Jesus’ humility in serving the disciples is a constant reminder of Christ’s call on our lives. For even as he knew that he was destined to be murdered, he knelt in service to those who had journeyed with him in ministry. Often, we re-enact that act of humble service in memory of Christ’s sacrifice and service for us. How can we offer that same kind of service to those who surround us? When and where do we have that kind of opportunity?
Blessed Redeemer, you gave me everything that you have and are so I may be yours, now and forever. Amen.