April 18

Maundy Thursday in Holy Week   A new command I give you: Love one another.”

Scripture  John 13: 33-35

 33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Reader: This is the word of the Lord.   Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:
If you knew you were doing to die in the next day or so, what would you say to your family and closest friends?  What would you talk about? I seriously doubt you’d be talking about soccer games, politics, the weather, the stock market or work. My guess is you’d be telling them how much you loved them. You’d want them to remember what you had taught them and to not “get off the track.” You’d tell them that you wanted them to love and look after each other and that you’d miss them but that you’d see them again. That’s pretty much what Jesus did in John chapters 13,14,15,& 16. In chapter 17 we get to listen in first hand on Jesus’ conversation, his prayer, to his heavenly Father. Chapters 13 through 19 cover less than 24 hours and is about a third of the entire book. John was an eyewitness this whole time. He thought it extremely important to record these conversations of the final hours of Jesus on earth. Some of the are extended conversations with the disciples. They include some of the most notable and oft-quoted words of Jesus. What is likewise of utmost importance is that we get to read and hear what Jesus thought was most important to say in the few hours before his death. It would then seem to me that we should give great attention to this portion of the book. John 17 is like eavesdropping on Jesus as he prays to his Father. We hear Jesus bearing his heart to his Father as he prays concerning the fulfillment of his mission to earth, his disciples, for us (!), and finally the truth of his indwelling of his children. In this section of the John’s gospel we have a model of grace, confidence, love, concern, and faithfulness as one leaves this world for heaven.  Over the next couple of days, take your time and read these passages again putting yourself in the midst of the disciples. What would (will?) you say to your loved ones if you knew you were going to die? You are. Tell them now what you want to say.

Please plan to be with us tomorrow night for the Good Friday service with the Chancel Choir. I’ll be preaching on “What All Happened on Good Friday?” at 7:00 PM. Being a part of these Holy Week services will change your perspective on Easter Sunday morning!

Music: “Ubi Caritas”       Ola Gjeila Very beautiful setting of text “a new command” (mandatum in Latin from which we get Maundy)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvI5sNucz1w     This is just the choral piece (text below)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_7mcGqsKP8   Same piece but the composer improvises on the piano with the choir.

Hymn:  Ubi Caritas      

(This hymn text was written specifically for Maundy Thursday worship possibly as early as the 4th century.)

Where charity and love are, there God is.
The love of Christ has gathered us into one flock.
Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.
Let us fear and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).

Where charity and love are, there God is.
Therefore, whensoever we are gathered as one:
Lest we in mind be divided, let us beware.
Let cease malicious quarrels, let strife give way.
And in the midst of us be Christ our God.

Where charity and love are, there God is.
Together also with the blessed may we see,
Gloriously, Thy countenance, O Christ our God:
A joy which is immense, and also approved:
Through infinite ages of ages.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, you have shaped our faith by making us believe you shared our mortal nature. In Gethsemane real drops of sweat fell from your body.  Lord Jesus, you have given us hope, because you endured all the spiritual and physical hardships which mortal nature can suffer. In Gethsemane your soul was sin torment, and your heart shook at the prospect of the physical pain to come. You showed all the natural weaknesses of the flesh, that we might know that you have truly borne our sorrows.
―Saint Bonaventura