Love one another.
Author: Lady Christine Eames
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
- John 13:34.
We think of this day as concentrating our thoughts on the Last Supper, the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples. It's a picture we've seen in artwork of various kinds around the world and in part it's not hard for us to imagine for ourselves: friends sharing a meal together but the Last Supper is profound for Christian people everywhere.
It speaks, of course, of those bonds of friendship of the group gathered, of shared experiences with moments of sheer wonder for those who were the disciples of Our Lord when they must have pondered over who exactly was this man they followed.
Yet even as the group gather in friendship Jesus knows there is to be betrayal before the night is over: he washes the feet of the disciples, but we are told knew that not every one was clean. This action of Jesus and His teaching when he had finished washing and drying their feet was challenging for them and especially for Peter.
It was a challenge for them in the upper room that night and a lesson in humility for us in our arrogance and pride. But what gives the name "Maundy" to the remembrance of this day so very near the end of Our Lord's earthly ministry is the new commandment that He gives. In vv 34 and 35 of John Chapter 13 Jesus tells those gathered with Him to love one another and by this, all will know that you are my disciples.
As we reflect on this day so close to the sorrow of Good Friday and the glory yet to come of Easter these words are surely a commandment for us in our time. Around the world riches and poverty, comfort and homelessness, voices heard and those with no voice at all, busyness and loneliness are all part of our experience and sit uncomfortably side by side. In such a world can we show love as followers of Christ today?
Help me Lord in ways, however small they may seem to be,
to respond to the commandment of this Maundy Thursday and love one another.
Christine Eames is the former Worldwide President of the Mothers' Union and a former Trustee of Christian Aid UK and Ireland.
Published on 18 April 2019