Devotion for Thursday, April 5

Brooke Eikenberry Lent 2012

Thursday, April 5

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Today’s reading falls on “Maundy Thursday” and I learned that “Maundy” comes from the Latin for “mandate.” In verse 34 we are give a “new commandment” to love another and it is placed after the story Jesus washing the disciples feet and his demonstration of what it is be the servant. However, I am presently writing this during the last days of January with the air waves full of political nonsense and servitude seems a distant national concern. I fantasize a surreal scene of a CEO washing his staffs’ feet and how incongruent that would be in our corporate culture. Unfortunately the political nonsense is also buried in our text as well. Whoever wrote John represented a group that wanted to be separate from whatever group that Peter represented; Peter gets singled out to make a point. Judas is brought in to support the writer’s anti-Semitic bias. (John Shelby Spong sees the Judas story as part of the shift of blaming Jesus’ death from the Romans to the Jews. Judas = Judah.) John’s Gospel does not have the traditional Lord’s Supper story/ritual. He places the washing of the feet story/ritual before the Passover because Jesus is the sacrifice. He is the Paschal Lamb and that occurs on the same day as Passover. Also in January, I just heard Lee’s sermon on “thy will be done” and agree God does not need to micromanage and clearly does not plan the violence. God can use our violence. I see Jesus revealing what it means to “walk humbly with God.” He preached that we are forgiven. We do not need yet another sacrifice to experience God. We are forgiven and we are free to love and to serve and even wash feet.

 -Submitted by Bill Snorf

GPS Questions:

In John’s Gospel, the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet replaces the story of the last supper as it is told in the other three gospels. In what ways is John telling us that Jesus considered service to be a sacrament? In what ways does our Methodist heritage consecrate service as a sacrament?

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