Candles flickered on the Passover table,
sending long shadows bouncing around the room.
Scattered across the table
the unleavened bread crumbs,
bitter herbs, figs piled high
wine in goblets half-drunk,
salt water, eggs and
God’s faithfulness remembered and retold,
new story told silently.
“Show, don’t tell,” and He did.
Advice that stuck from poetry class.
The small crowd around the table pressed in expectant as Jesus rose.
They had learned to watch Him close,
those who left nets and tangled lives, family and known futures.
They were the utterly captivated.
And Jesus loved his disciples to the end.
He followed through, race ending, chest puffed out to catch the finish line, heart exposed
He finished well.
How do you love silent in front of the guilty accusing?
How do you carry a bulky cross, drag with love your death?
How do you die with forgiveness for the revilers on your lips?
How do you love, finish well when you are finished, laid bare?
Unafraid of whispers,
he stripped off clothes,
dressed the part of the unnamed slave,
towel tight around waist,
knelt down in the dust,
picked up the feet of fellow journeyers.
Today these feet were crusted with miles
the long anxious trail to Jerusalem,
the dust of the gate-entering hosanna dance,
the donkey’s left gifts,
first century life smeared, then baked on.
He picked each chosen foot up, caressed the outer mess, the inner sinful chaos, washing, refreshing, toweling the embarrassed.
The humble teach humility,
expose the caked-on fallen earth
lead us to repentance with kindness,
all while on their knees.
He invites us to follow, always to follow:
To strip off the put-on life,
to wrap the towel of identity “child of God” tight around our waist,
do what we see our Savior Brother did,
to chaffe the knees before those covered with the pain of unhealed earth,
crusted with the inner and outer spray of sin.
To love, to wash,
to always finish well.
To kneel with honor,
to wash and then towel off the image of God marred.
Want more? Maundy Thursday Sermon “Love Big”: click here.
painting: ford maddox brown
This is a part of Cross-Shaped Evangelism series. Click here for more.