On Maundy Thursday of Holy Week, we remember the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples and friends, breaking bread and sharing wine. And in John’s gospel, we also encounter Jesus as servant, kneeling before a wash basin and washing the feet of his students. John 13:12-15 says:
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?Â You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am.Â So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.Â For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
We talk a lot about the Golden Rule at our house. It’s one of the many mantras my kids endure far more frequently than they’d like, I imagine. And frankly, most days the Golden Rule is a good enough benchmark to set. It’s tough to love someone as you love yourself. But I hope at this stage in my spiritual practice as a follower of Jesus I’ve also become someone who is also attempting to love others the way Jesus has loved me, which is to say unconditionally, with unending mercy, with a love that conquers all. As Jeremiah says, God “has loved us with an everlasting love.” If I’ve learned anything this Lent, it’s that I have a long, long way to go before I get there. But it’s one mountain I find worth the climb. And I actually believe it’s more reachable than most of us allow ourselves to believe. (What do we think Jesus was showing us the example for? Guilt?! Or transformation?!)
This Holy Week, I’m trying to die to my sense of “fairness” or my own personal “rightness” and even my internal justifications of “that’s actually pretty kind, that will do nicely” in the hopes that what will be resurrected is the kind of compassion that has and will always change the world.