From the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald, 1512-1516
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Do you normally attend worship on Maundy Thursday? For whatever reason, chances are pretty good that many of you don't. Maybe you already were at worship this past Sunday, and you're planning to be in worship on Good Friday. Plans are set for Easter, of course. Why bother with Maundy Thursday?
Well, let me share with you something I've been thinking and praying about. There is this word, "Maundy" that we use to describe this Thursday. Let's just say it. It's one of those churchy words that we use that we assume everyone understands. It is probably not a very accurate assumption. Maundy is a Latin word that means command. We read in John 13:34 that Jesus gives us a new commandment, mandatum novum, to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
Jesus gave us an example of what this love looks like. It takes the form of humble service. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to demonstrate what loving service to one another looks like. Take some time between now and Thursday evening to read John 13. A representative group has agreed to participate in foot washing this year in the context of our Maundy Thursday liturgy.
I'm looking forward to seeing you at our Maundy Thursday service . . . and Good Friday service . . . and Easter service. This is Holy Week for a reason. It's about Passion, Love, and Life. Come and see. Behold the cross. You won't regret time spent in the presence of these holy things in God's holy house, in the midst of God's holy people.
Peace be with you.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
February 4, 1906 - April 9, 1945
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies.” (Luke 6:28)
Jesus speaks of enemies, that is, of those who will remain our enemies, unmoved by our love; those who do not forgive us anything when we have forgiven them everything; those who hate us when we love them; those who insult us all the more, the more we serve them. “In return for my love they accuse me, even the more we serve them” (Ps. 109:4). But love must not ask if it is being returned. Instead, it seeks those who need it. But who needs love more than they who live in hate without any love? Who, therefore, is more worthy of my love than my foe? Where is love praised more splendidly than amidst love’s enemies?
This love knows no difference among diverse kinds of enemies, except that the more animosity the enemy has, the more my love is required. No matter whether it is a political or religious enemy, they can all expect only undivided love from Jesus’ followers. This love recognizes no inner conflict within myself, even between my being a private person and my being an officeholder. In both cases I can be only one who follows Jesus, or I am no follower of Jesus at all. I am asked, how does this love act? Jesus says: bless them do good to them, pray for them without condition, without regard for who they are.
“Love your enemies."*
*Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001) p. 139
Dietrich Bonhoeffer on a weekend getaway
with confirmands of Zion's Church congregation (1932)