Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014 “The Good Stuff”

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13: 34)

“If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15)

Good Morning and Blessed Maundy Thursday to All of You!

From childhood, I enjoyed going to church. The church I attended in Marietta, PA had a beautiful little sanctuary with stunning, intricately detailed stained-glass windows. One depicted Jesus at the age of twelve confounding the religious leaders with his extraordinary knowledge. Another featured the empty tomb with the angel inside telling the amazed women that Christ was no longer in the tomb…that he had risen as he said he would.  From time to time, and every year of Holy Week, the Lord’s Supper was observed. At that time, it was customary to wait until confirmation to receive the elements of bread and cup (which, as a boy, sometimes frustrated me, because I wanted some of that “good stuff” as well.  There was some vocabulary unique to the church that I didn’t understand until I was older. For example, there was that strange term “Maundy Thursday”. What was the meaning of “Maundy”? It sounded like “Monday” to me, so it was a bit confusing. How could Thursday be confused with “Monday”? It was some time before I learned that “Maundy” actually meant “Command”, referring to the new command Christ gave his disciples: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” How was this a new command? The command it replaced was the one which said “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Jesus had raised the bar! The new standard of love moved from the degree of “Self-love” to “Christ-like love”.  It moved from protection to sacrifice! Jesus set the example, symbolizing it with the elements of communion and actualizing it on the cross!  The expected love response he called for from those who would follow him would be nothing less. It was not a suggestion he gave…it was a command. Commands are not optional except in the sense that you choose to obey them or disobey them.  Christ demonstrated what that obedience would look like with his willing sacrifice, and demanded nothing less from those who would be his disciples. Christ feeds us the bread of heaven…himself. Then he hungers for us to show our love for him through following his example of self-sacrifice. Mother Theresa of Calcutta said it like this:

“Into each of our lives Jesus comes as the bread of life…to be eaten, to be consumed by us. Then He comes as the hungry one, the other, hoping to be fed with the bread of OUR life, our hearts loving, and our hands serving.”

Do you love Christ? Show Him! Tell Him! Talk with Him! serve Him! Keep His commandments! Let’s pray!

Lord of Love; You have raised the bar of love. You have commanded us to love one another as You have loved us, with self-sacrifice and service. may others come to know of your love through our love towards them. May our lofty words become real through our obedience to Your perfect will. this we pray in Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen!

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