On the Night in Which He Was Betrayed

I mostly go to churches that don’t openly celebrate Lent.  I have been feeling this lack during this Lenten season.  All this week, God has been reminding me of the symbols, walking me through the ritual, as you would a small child who needs to do, and experience, to learn and know.  Today is Maundy Thursday.  For those, who have never worshipped in this way, Maundy Thursday is the remembering of that last night with the disciples.  They were all reclining at the table that has now become so important to us all.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:2-5

Jesus saw the betrayal that was sitting at the table between him and Judas.  There it sat, like the loaves of bread and glasses of wine, between them.  So, he rose from the table to get the basin and the towel.  Then he went from the feet of one who loved him, to the feet of one who loved him, to feet of one who was to betray him.  And he loved, and he washed, and he served equally.

On the night in which he was betrayed, He knelt before his betrayer, took his feet in his hands and washed away the grime and dirt of the day.  This is what Love did on the way to giving his life.  Where you or I would have said, “I’m going to do a big thing for you tomorrow, today I will rest,” Love wrapped a towel around his waist, knelt down on his knees and lovingly washed feet.  This is not the kind of love we know how to do.  We know a friendly, “Hi, how are you” kind of love.  Or even an “I like you” kind of love.  But, this “sit in the stink of feet with hurt piercing your heart, while your hands give care” kind of love is not of this world.

On Maundy Thursday, we ask him for this kind of love, not for ourselves, but to give away to others.  Fill our hearts so that our hands, can serve as yours did.  Fill our hearts, so that our mouths can speak as yours did.  Fill our hearts, so that we can do it again and again, even on the way to giving our lives.

If you would like to journey through the rest of the events of that night you can continue reading here.

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2 thoughts on “On the Night in Which He Was Betrayed

  1. Holy Thursday, in the Catholic tradition, is one of the most beautiful liturgies of the year. It’s the liturgy I remember most from my childhood and the Mass I look forward to most during this Holy Triduum. Since the beginning of Lent, we have not sung the “Gloria” during Mass, but tonight we will proclaim “Glory to God in the Highest!” ringing the outdoor church bells throughout. Mass culminates with an incensed Eucharistic procession to the Altar of Repose while the congregation chants “Pange Lingua”. It is, indeed, the ritual of this celebration that makes the Lord’s Supper, the first Mass, so tangible to the church.

    • Molly, I love it! I have been learning, and loving, the fact that in the same way that I need to be walked through the stuff of life, I also need to be walked through the act of worship. It is so silly to say that something is more genuine because it is “off the cuff,” especially when I know that I am able to become more and more genuine the more I revisit a thing. There is something so truthful about ritual. It’s as if the years and years of practice have gone to the heart of the thing in a way that the brand new version can only brush up against.

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