Maundy Thursday Meditation for April 2, 2015

Franklin Circle Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Cleveland, Ohio ~

Rev. Allen V. Harris, Pastor & Preacher ~ E-Mail:

Twitter: @FranklinCircle ~ Pastor’s Blog:

Anointing.  Washing.  Communing.

Celebration.  Servanthood.  Grace.

Who says rituals aren’t important?  Not Jesus.  Jesus understood the powerful way in which involving yourself in the action and repeating that action embodies and sustains the meaning well beyond the life of the one around whom the rituals were formed.  Jesus was well aware that if the meaning of the events and actions were important enough, then creating a ceremony with which to observe that action again and again was critical, even a requirement, for the significance to be made real.

Anointing His Feet #2 by Wayne Forte

Anointing His Feet #2
by Wayne Forte

Mary anointed Jesus with precious ointments and her tears to celebrate her profound appreciation for his ministry of grace-filled love and abundant forgiveness.  From the earliest days of the New Testament church, anointing has been a symbol of love, grace, and forgiveness, whether in calling someone to service in the church, marking the reality of God’s mercy, or sending them on to their eternal home.  This act was a celebration of her humanity touching his humanity and a celebration of the divine in both of them.  We would do well to have more celebration in the church.  Let us keep anointing.

Jesus Washing Disciples FeetJesus knelt down and washed the feet of his disciples, much to their frustration and against their better judgement.  Taking on the form of a servant, he who was from God and was of God and was God gave himself up to the slavish indignity of cleaning other people’s dirty, dusty, smelly feet in order to physically embody the self-less life of a disciple.  Time and time again this one who was God’s most beloved, favorite child of the Most High God, was found kneeling over to pick up children, touch lepers, listen to the elderly, rescue those who the self-appointed religious elite were ready to kill, and pick up crosses.  We would do well to have more servanthood in the church.  Let us keep washing.

LastSupperJesus broke the bread and blessed the cup and communed with his followers.  Gathered around him were a band of wayward followers from the frazzled edges of society’s fringes, men and women who were constantly at each other’s throats, throwing suspicions and accusations around at each other like they were at war.  Somehow Jesus knew something about them more than the world could understand or would ever admit.  Jesus saw in them something different and far better than they could even see in themselves.  That is the definition of grace.  And so he took a risk, and gave them a most precious ritual that was simple enough for them to do again and again anywhere they were, and yet deep enough that it could transform their very lives.  We would do well to have more grace in the church.  Let us keep communing.

Rituals make real the important facets of human lives.  But ritual for ritual sake alone can become ceremonial pomp and irrelevant circumstance.  What make rituals truly life-giving and meaningful is the simple and yet scarce gift that Jesus had the most to offer: love.  Rituals, linked with love, transform churches… transform lives.

Anointing.  Washing.  Communing.

Celebration.  Servanthood.  Grace.

Love.  We would do well to have more love in the church.  Let us keep loving.