If you’ve raised children you’ll well remember that phase where they are just starting to be responsible enough to begin to stay home alone for short periods. It starts as a quick run to the grocery store, then if the house is still standing and the pets alive and well, it might be for an hour or two and eventually they learn how to care for themselves and they’re on their way….but remember the first time you left them “alone?” You can’t get the last instructions out quickly enough; “Remember to lock the door behind us….don’t have any friends over….don’t use the microwave, stove or oven….we’ll call in 3o minutes to check – make sure you pick up the phone!” It’s something all parents go through….and it’s hard! You know they will eventually figure out how to manage on their own, but it’s your responsibility to teach them well, and you know all of the things they don’t know!
When I think of all that happened in the life of Jesus on this day….this one day, it’s hard to comprehend. Just yesterday he was with friends in Bethany, most likely assisting in the preparation of today’s celebration….knowing it would be the last time he would have those closest to him all gathered together in one place. They didn’t know that….but he did.
After sunset, Jesus shares the traditional and symbolic Passover meal with the twelve, but this time he invites them to think differently about the ordinary bread and wine, asking them to remember his death and resurrection as often as they gather together. Then he again breaks from tradition and does something unprecedented….he washes their feet. Foot washing wasn’t an unusual act, it just wasn’t done by anyone with prestige, with authority….with honor; it was usually carried out by household servants and done as an act of hospitality when guests arrived. So, not only did Jesus provide this act of service at an unusual time (after the meal) but he chose to serve in the capacity of a servant, setting the example of how they were to treat one another…they had to have known he was teaching them something important, but they really didn’t know what to make of it.
Jesus was speaking about things with such urgency and passion, but not really telling them in terms they could understand what was about to happen. He alluded to Judas’ betrayal of him, to Peter’s denial of him and said he would be leaving soon, but to take heart because he was going to prepare places for all of them to come, too…..so much care and attention to their hearts, knowing that very soon they would scatter and nothing would ever be the same again…
There was just so much he wanted them to know…to remember. Had he taught them well enough? Would they be able to stand against the opposition that would soon seek to annihilate this growing movement of those who called themselves Christians? It had to have seemed like he was just throwing out “last instructions” before he left them to manage on their own, only they didn’t know he was truly leaving, and that in itself had to have been so very hard for Jesus….hard, and maybe even overwhelming.
I wish I could explain all that’s in my heart on this Maundy Thursday….we’ve been on an incredible Lenten journey together and I find myself getting increasingly emotional as we near the end. I loved Jesus as a child, as a moody teenager, as a somewhat rebellious young adult and as a young woman. I loved him when God blessed me with a wonderful husband and two children who were my everything. I loved him when we raised our family to honor God and serve others. I loved him through moves to different states and different churches and never once thought I would question his love for me.
But three years ago, I’m sorry to say….I came close to questioning that love. Not for long, though, as I saw him move mightily in the life of my daughter and my family, and my love and devotion to him grew even more deeply. Then the world came to a halt with the loss of the fourth Warren, and I was sure he had forgotten me….and I got lost for what felt like a very, very long time.
But “lost” to Jesus isn’t lost at all….I forgot that I belonged to him; I had given my heart to him long ago, and he had just been patiently waiting for the hurt to subside enough for me to see him there….always there.
This tender and very intimate song by Kari Jobe speaks my heart better than all of these nearly 900 words could possibly do. He loves us more than we will ever understand. Though I am still learning to live with faith and sorrow side by side, tonight as I reflect on just how far we’ve come together, I do indeed “melt in his peace” and I am….overwhelmed. <3
The More I Seek You
The more I seek you,
The more I find you
The more I find you, the more I love you
I want to sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breathe, feel your heart beat
This love is so deep, its more than I can stand
I melt in your peace, its overwhelming