Today’s Word: ‘mandate’ as in… love like your lives depend on it. Because they do.
It’s Friday, a good, good Friday. And if your journey through this week has been rooted in the spirited passion of Christ then you know where all of this is going.
It’s not going to be easy. It never is, is it?
During Holy Week we see Jesus welcomed then rejected, surrounded then abandoned, embraced then betrayed, loved then hated, worshipped then killed. In the midst of all of the fickleness, Jesus gathers his disciples together to share a meal. We remember this ‘Meal of Love and Service’ on what we call Maundy Thursday; “Maundy” being Latin for “Commandment Mandate.” We remember that on that night Jesus called his followers of every age and in every time to love one another. He called his followers to show love, to be love, to live love, to simply love without exception and maybe with just a little abandon.
Or a lot.
And just so there wouldn’t be any question about what that meant or what that looked like, Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer garment and wrapped a towel around his waist and assumed the role of a servant. He began washing the feet of his disciples saying:
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
And yes, it was Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends who protested, saying: “What on earth are you doing? Stop!” But Jesus pressed on saying, ‘This is what it means to follow me.’
Then came Friday. Good Friday. And just so there wouldn’t be any question about what that love looks like or to what extent that love goes, Jesus made it abundantly clear. Perfectly clear. The new commandment is to love like Jesus loved, to love like our lives depend upon it. Because our lives do depend upon it.