A sermon by the Rev. Canon Lauren Holder
Maundy Thursday – Year C
I am so, so glad we are celebrating this Maundy Thursday service together in this space. The past two years, Maundy Thursday has been filmed in my house—both in my kitchen and at our dining table. The first year was, I’ll admit, pretty moving. We were all new in the Pandemic, exploring different ways to bring church home. In pulling the service together from my home, I spent a lot of time remembering what we did in this space on Maundy Thursday, and how it made me feel. Remembering is an important faith practice. I also remembered that this service recalls the last supper Jesus had with some of his closest friends. So my family and I sat together and ate dinner, all on film, but with the conversation muted.
If we had not muted the conversation at dinner that first year, you would have heard my children discussing the seven plagues, pharaoh’s hard heart, and the Hebrews’ escape from slavery. They were talking about these things because they attended a Jewish school, and at school they were doing the faithful work of remembering the Exodus story. I can still hear their preschool voices singing “Da-Daynu” meaning: it would have been enough. God’s love for us is always enough.
At the end of the meal, we washed each other’s feet—my children’s favorite part of the service. And then we came back to the dinner table to share the Holy Eucharist, each of us naming where we remembered seeing God’s presence in our lives. Finally—the most poignant part for me—we cleared the table. Just as we will clear the altar later this evening, my children helped me clear everything off the table. When I handed my son the cup of wine to take away, he peered down into it and said: Mommy, it’s just like the Red Sea! He was remembering. We turned down the lights. Then I wiped down the table, just as Sam and I had wiped down the altar the year before, remembering all of you, remembering what we share in this space, remembering Jesus’ presence with each of us no matter where we are. My dinner table has felt like a profoundly sacred space ever since.
If there’s one thing I pray you’ll take away from this service, it’s the ancient faith practice of remembering. Remember the story of Jesus. Remember God’s love for you. Remember how Jesus shows up in our love for one another.
But there’s one other thing I hope you’ll carry with you in the rest of this service and the rest of this Holy Week, and that’s Jesus’ constant invitation: Let me love you.
Jesus took off his robe, tied a towel around his waist, knelt down before his best friends, and began to wash their feet. One of his friends, Peter, tried to resist. Peter loved Jesus so much, he couldn’t imagine letting this teacher and friend wash his dirty feet. But Jesus loved Peter so much, he insisted—let me love you, Peter. Let me share myself with you in this way.
Now it’s our turn to remember Jesus’ love for us in the washing of feet and in the breaking of bread. Let God love you. Remember. And let God love you. Amen.