April 5, 2012
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He teaches us to love our enemies, love God, love our neighbor, love one another. He compels us to search our hearts and search our souls. He is confident that when we really search we will find God inside of us. Every sacrifice that Jesus made during his human existence on earth was not just for all of humanity, it was for me. He gave up his life, not only sacrificing his human time on earth but also enduring incredible, avoidable pain. Everything he did was for us to understand how much God loves each and every one of us. There is nowhere that God cannot reach us, find us, love us.
Maundy Thursday is when Holy Week really starts to become serious. When we consider all of Jesus’ ministry coming down to these events that we commemorate in these twenty-four hours we are confronted with a magnitude of love that we cannot comprehend. I don’t know why God chose to write the story of humanity in this way. I don’t think that is something that I am capable of knowing in this life. I do know though that tears come to my eyes hearing a story that I could recite myself. It is not that I don’t know the story, I think it is more that I have to have a certain degree of callousness to it in order to be able to function. And so, when the meaning of the story penetrates afresh I tear up with wonder that all this is really real.
I don’t think the resurrection story would have the same impact it does if it weren’t prefaced by the teachings and example of a man who always went out of his way to include, heal, love, welcome, and feed. No one was unworthy if they wanted Jesus. We think it is our faith that saves us – the act of believing. And yet what Jesus most emphasized was loving. 1 Corinthians tells us that faith, hope, and love endure – but the greatest of these is love. Maybe it is not so much if we believe or what we believe. Maybe it is more about being willing to love: unconditional love like Jesus showed. Does faith in God matter if we do not love God? It is probably possible to believe that God exists, and yet have no love for God. A faith that exists in fear or loathing or guilt does not open us to miraculous transformation. It is this miraculous transformation that is the power of resurrection. It really all comes down to love. When we feel love, do love, act out love, engender love, and give love we are transformed. Love is the currency through which God travels. And so for Maundy Thursday, obey the new commandment. Love.