As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, "My time has come, the glory of God will soon surround me - and God shall receive great praise because of all that happens to me. And God shall give me his own glory, and this so very soon. Dear, dear children, how brief are these moments before I must go away and leave you! Then though you search for me, you cannot come to me - just as I told the Jewish leaders.
"And so I am giving a new commandment to you now - love each other as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13: 31-35 (TLB)
Kathleen Brewer, from New Brunswick, Canada, remembers her first Maundy Thursday worship service. She didn't know what to expect; to be honest, she didn't know what Maundy meant! Maundy, Kathleen learned, was a shortened form of the Latin word mandatum, which means "command." As we see in our verse from John today, Jesus humbled himself by washing the disciples' feet as he shared a meal with them for the last time before his death. The next day Jesus paid the ultimate price by giving his life for our sins.
The first Maundy Thursday service Kathleen attended brought the worshipers to a point of self-reflection. Then the pastor asked for their personal prayer concerns, prayed for them individually, and ended the service with Communion.
When the service was over, Kathleen was in tears thinking of the love Christ has for us. His command to us was not just to love someone when it's easy or convenient but to love even when it's hard - like when we are busy or when someone is difficult to love. Some days and some situations are challenging. But we can each pray that we will love one another so that we can show the world what it means to follow Christ.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your gift of love. Help us to humble ourselves to love others as Christ has loved us. We pray in His name. Amen.