Much religious controversy seems to come down to whether the people of God are to be pure (set apart fromthe things of this world) or whether God’s people have been set apart forservice to the world. The Maundy Thursday liturgy marks Jesus’ command (mandatum, from which we get mandate) that we love one another and demonstrate that love in service. As Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, he shows all who follow how we participate in the life of Christ through serving others. While the prophets had always exhorted the people to compassion and mercy, Jesus provides a living example. Then as now, actions speak louder than words.
Our worship tonight is the beginning of the Triduum liturgy, which extends over three days (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Great Vigil of Easter and Easter Day). Triduum represents the most intimate three days in the life of the Church. In this time we have a “front row seat” to the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Through it, we enter more deeply into the Paschal mystery of Christ’s redeeming love (not a mystery to be solved by human reason, but one which can only be revealed by God and received through grace.)
Human beings are created in the image of God. In the classical understanding of Jesus’ Incarnation, God takes on broken human flesh, yet still remains God. In His resurrection and ascension, Jesus still remains human. Because of this, humanity is drawn into the throne room of God, and we as the Body of Christ stand there, too. God participates in our life, and we participate in the life of God in prayer, in worship, and in service. As we move into this Triduum, I am profoundly moved by the faithfulness at All Saints’ which has “set us free to serve. ” Service, Jesus makes clear, also sets us free to grow.
Below you will find many opportunities for service in the coming weeks. On a personal note, I will be leaving for study and sabbatical immediately following worship on April 28th. I am grateful for this time and look forward to hearing what you, the Body of Christ in this place, have discovered when I return in August.