We remember the Last Supper
Short in-person Communion services — both the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ — will be offered at church in the Sanctuary at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm, and 7pm. No need to sign up!
Additionally, for those who are not yet comfortable with in-person worship or for whatever reason are unable to attend one of the above services, we will livestream the 7pm service on Facebook Live.
Remember, You Are Loved—Pass it on!
Sermon for Maundy Thursday 2021
1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Our Saviour Lutheran Church of Warrenton, VA; the Reverend Terri E.L. Church
You ever have one of those weeks? You know what I’m talking about (I think). A week where everything seems to go wrong; there’s too much to do and too little time to do it; you’re pulled in a thousand different directions; things that usually work “just fine” might as well be thrown out the window. You ever have one of those weeks?
Yeah, I thought you had. I had one of those days earlier this week—as I’ll bet you have had as well. When we face those weeks, those days, those years… we begin to realize we simply can’t do it all. Therefore, to get through one of those weeks, we have to shift gears from normal—we learn to forgive ourselves because we won’t get it all done, we learn to ask for help, and we learn to prioritize. We ask, “What are the most important things?” Then do them. We all have those weeks, and they take some focus.
Well, Jesus was having one of those weeks! This is Maundy Thursday—no, that’s not an April Fool’s joke (Is it Monday or is it Thursday?!), but the funny way the English-speaking world refers to Holy Thursday. Maundy is from mandatum, Latin for “mandate,” so we could call it Command Thursday, the night Jesus gave us marching orders. In the middle of Holy Week—the ultimate “one of those weeks” for Jesus—you never get the sense he was unclear about priorities. He knew what mattered. He had one message: Remember. You are loved. Always. Now pass it on.
We heard how St. Paul shares the meal of Holy Communion. Jesus says, “When you gather as my community and eat bread and wine, I ask you to remember who I am: Immanuel—it means God is with us. Remember I’m Jesus—which means, God Saves. Remember that I am Love Incarnate.”
“This bread is my body. This wine is my blood. They are given for you so that you, too, will be saved. This new meal is given so that you will remember that God loves you. This,” Jesus said, “is what matters.” And he says it to all of us as well. He gave us Holy Communion, so that we could be One with him and united to each other. Just as we connect to Jesus as our bodies consume the Body and Blood of our Lord, we connect to each other around his Table. And with all that closeness, Jesus knew we would need something else: Love. That’s where tonight’s gospel reading comes in, as he commands us to love as he loves us.
Our Maundy Thursday order comes at the end of this part of the story: “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.”
Jesus had his priorities straighter than ever that night! He knew he was going to suffer for our sakes. He knew his disciples would betray and deny him. He knew he was going to give up his own body and blood to save the world once and for all. And so, he wrapped a towel around his waist, got on his knees, and showed us what love looks like.
Jesus washed his disciples’ feet so that they would know he wanted them to love each other and serve one another in his name. He wants that to be our priority, too. On this night, he gave us a new covenant and a new meal. The “mandate” or command of Maundy Thursday is to love one another as Jesus loved us—all of us. His priorities were on us—that we would remember that we are forgiven, that we would know we are loved, and that we would be known by love.
It’s about love beyond our wildest imaginations. Remember that you are loved. Pass it on. Love so much the world sees it and knows we belong to Jesus!
I started out talking about having one of those weeks where, through a series of unfortunate events, we must learn to forgive ourselves what we can’t do, we must ask for help, and we learn to focus on our priorities, on what matters. Jesus made us his priority and commanded us to pass it on. So, whenever you have one of those weeks (or days, or years!), the message of this week is to remember that you are loved—to the grave and back—forever, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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