This week the church observes Holy Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday, we often celebrate with children waving branches, but it is more complicated that that. It is the beginning of the end. The week ahead is long and bitter. We can't skip ahead to Sunday. We are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday people right now.
So, we find ourselves at Maundy ("Command") Thursday. This is derived from John 13:34 where Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love on another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." Then, Jesus surprises everyone at the Passover meal by washing their feet. He models the leadership of a servant. Just reading it makes me want to pull my feet back or excuse myself from the room. If you've ever experienced a foot washing service, it is mortifying and humbling. As meaningful as it can be, I am not enthusiastic to experience it again. It is too much.
Peter thought so too. In John 13:8, Peter says essentially, nope, that's gonna be a hard pass. And Jesus says without this experience, without this discomfort, without this mindset, without putting yourself in this sort of position - you don't get it. You can't be a part of it. IYKYK. You have to process it as a person to be able to do it as a leader.
Ruth Haley Barton invites us to “hand ourselves over” to the events of this week, all of stories of Holy Week. There are plenty to explore. Without Lent, withoutHoly Week, there is no Easter. Lean in to the sadness, to the darkness. Sit in your own humility for a few moments. Visit your sorrows. Think of your hope.
Love one another. You are deeply loved - so show that love generously to others. And on the days you don't feel that sense of worthiness, that you don't feel love wildly spilling over your cup - hand yourself over to this kind of love, the love of Holy Week. The servanthood of Maundy Thursday. The sacrifice of Friday. The all too tender grief of Saturday.
Sunday is coming, but not yet. So until we have Good News, we bind together. We figure out who we are. We decide what really matters. We do the work of love.