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Today begins the Triduum, the three holiest days in Christianity. In this one service we remember Jesus’ gift of our common-union through bread and wine, his servant act of washing his friends’ feet, then Judas’ (and Peter’s and everyone else but John’s) betrayal. Finally, we leave our worship space bare and vulnerable. Maundy comes from the Latin word Mandatum, which means mandate, referring to Jesus’ commandment to re-member (put back together) him in communion.
Pray: Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Read: John 13:1-17, 31b-35 NRSV
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."
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? You call me Teacher and Lord--and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
"Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Be: Be still, imagine that you’re in the room. Imagine the smells of the bread, the smells of your friends, the smell of your feet then watch your best friend wash them as a servant would. How does the water feel across your toes? What do your friend’s faces look like? How do you feel? Share, Journal or Draw.
Do Together: Find a large bowl, fill any pitcher with warm water, then wash each other’s feet. Be sure to have some bath towels nearby for drying. If you have more time or interest up this by putting some bubble bath in the water, use a nail scrubber, turn it into a pedicure. While washing, some might giggle, some might cry, it’s ok. Partners wash each other’s feet, parents wash your children’s. Siblings, wash each-others, allow everyone to choose whether they’d like to wash and who’s feet will be washed, and it’s ok if there are repeat washers or repeat feet.
Do Alone: Write a letter today to someone whose been a blessing in your life. Tell them what they did, how you felt, and how it affected you.