April 1, 2010
Maundy is short for the Latin word Maundatum (commandment) Love one another How?
Tonight is chock full of sacramental gifts.
The sacraments are Outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace. (BCP)
• Meal – Agape (love) feast.
o Our meal together is a sign of the meal the disciples ate with Jesus – the Last Supper.
• Water – wash/bathe the feet –
o In remembrance of Jesus bathing the disciple’s feet
o reminds us of our own baptism and points us toward the baptisms awaiting us at the Easter Vigil.
o We are washed clean in the water of Christ so that we can follow the path of Jesus with pure souls
• Bread – used by Jesus first to signify who will betray him –
o and then to become the Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven
o We receive the bread of Christ tonight for the last time before the altar is stripped and it is taken away from us
• Wine –
o Bread most likely dipped in a mixture of wine and olive oil before it is given to Judas
o both the bread and the wine are first used to point out betrayal before they become the Body and Blood of Christ
In Matthew’s gospel Jesus says: “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”(5:23-24)
Why are the gifts of the Eucharist so wrapped up in betrayal?
It is probable that Tiger Woods understands this better than anyone.
After the entire world learned of his betrayal of his wife, Elin, Tiger Woods was admitted to a strenuous rehabilitation center ironically called “Gentle Path”
12 Step Program that helps you face the ugly face of your own addiction. In this case – addiction to sex.
First admit powerlessness over your own ability to manage your life, then make a decision to allow God to do the managing from here on out.
Before you can come to the altar and receive sacramental grace, Jesus asks us first to be reconciled to those whom we’ve hurt the most.
Full Disclosure: Tiger had to face his wife and fully disclose the nature of his addiction.
Not such a “gentle” path
The hardest step is letting go of the outcome of your full disclosure. Confession with a priest is one thing, but confession to a partner is something else altogether.
Last Sunday we saws how quickly the crowd could turn against Jesus. We went from Palm fronds, hosannas and carpeted runways to Pilate’s headquarters where we shouted, “crucify him!”
As Jesus washes the feet of his closest followers he knows who will betray him. We will.
The intimacy of the foot washing ceremony is meant to jar us.
If we imagine Jesus at our feet looking up into our eyes as he washes us clean we get a hint of the intimacy involved in God’s love for us. It is trusting in that love that will bring us through the grief of Good Friday. We can’t predict how the Resurrection makes all things new, but we can have faith that it will. It is through Love.