(Thanks to The Brick Testament, Legos Bible Stories, for the pic!)
A Gospel Reading
Before the festival of Passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father, having loved those who were his in the world, loved them to the end. They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything in his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from the table, removed his outer garments, and, taking a towel, wrapped it around his waist; he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter, ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said, ‘Well then, not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ (John 13:1-9, NJB)
I Don’t Always Finish Well
In this oft-cited passage, it is common to skim through these words, rushing towards the climax of the Holy Week story just a few hours after this last meal Jesus shares with his closest friends last Passover night. As I reflect on these words, I feel that temptation in myself, as the cultural details of these actions have been explicated, pulled apart, and lost (much of) their emotional power.
And yet I wonder: What does love look like to the end? Does it end in death, the ultimate laying down of my right to live? Would I be willing to suffer what was coming Christ’s way? How do I love those in my world to their end? Am I willing to see things through?
And I realize: I’m often passionate about new things–ideas, events, experiences, environments, people. The same degree of conviction rarely is sustained in my life. Often yes, there is a grand flurry of activity at the end, as I remember ‘I wish to finish well!’ Yet, there is a noticeable downward trend in quality, consistency, and frankly, effort, in what I offer to those in my life as I journey towards the end with those in my life. I hate this about myself, and know that it is in some ways the nature of humanity (Could this be indicative of our brokenness?). This can manifest as false guilt and shame that smudges the new life the Spirit is calling me into, and yet as often is reality that I don’t want to live in. I fail at seeing things through at times.
He loved them to the end. What a challenging reality that I wish to embrace.
May I embrace and walk fully with those in my life, this day.