A Poem for Love on Maundy Thursday

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Holy Thursday
Tomorrow is about death,
The death of Jesus on the Cross.
 
But tonight, tonight is about love**
 
The love of Jesus for the disciples, his friends
The love of Jesus for the community he was a part of
The love of Jesus for the only community he knew
       that would grow
       from the little one gathered around him
       into the communities of the last 2000 years
       even the one we share tonight.
 
Tonight, tonight is about love.
 
What does Jesus’ love look like?
 
It looks like a group of friends gathered around a table,
       sharing laughs and drinks
It looks like Jesus washing the feet of feet of people who would betray him
       Getting close to them, touching their feet
       Looking into their eyes, while kneeling below them
It looks like a cup full of wine
And a loaf of bread on a table
 
The love of Jesus looks like Memories of love that created who he was.
 
Memories of being a baby at Mary’s breast.
Memories of learning how to carve wood with Joseph.
Memories of Wise Men who pointed his family in the direction of safety. 
Memories of God his loving Parent who called him on the journey of a lifetime.
Memories of John the Baptist his childhood playmate
       and the one who dipped him into a river for baptism.
Memories of the wilderness where he spoke with his God.
Memories of his disciples who he called his friends and partners.
Memories of women who along the way reminded him of God’s call
       in the midst of his social situation.
Memories of children he loved and cared for
       and of one special little boy
       who helped him feed thousands.
Memories of sailing on the Sea of Galilee, and then taking his first steps
       out into the water,
       hoping that God wouldn’t let him fall.
Memories of speaking truth to power
       Even when the power was demonic
       And pleaded for a new life.
Memories of anger that others didn’t love the way he did.
Memories of teaching, talking and helping anyone who came his way.
Memories of healing
        And the wonder and amazement that others had
        And even Jesus did
        when the healing took shape.
Memories of stories
        That made sense to some
        Stumped others
        Changed lives
        and angered some so much that this would be the last night.
 
All of these memories were at the Table that night in the Upper Room.
Mixed in with the water used to wash feet
Sweet and sour like the wine
Nourishment like the bread.
 
Tonight is not about death. 
Tonight is about love.
Tonight is about the passing of the torch.
And the mystery of faith in a community of friends and neighbors.
 
So let us now prepare to gather around the Table
To remember that tonight is about Love
And to see Jesus in the face
Of one another.
Amen.
 
*Written for worship at Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church for Maundy Thursday.
**The word Maundy is derived through Middle English, and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you”), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel According to John (13:34) by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.
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