Friday, April 18, 2014

Sermon for Second Service of the Triduum - Good Friday



                                                                                                            Good Friday
                                                                                                            Isa 52:13-53:12
                                                                                                            4/17/14

            Well mercifully, it looks like the winter that seemed as if it would never end, has finally come to an end.  We’ve had some warms days and the trees are flowering.  The baseball season has begun and before you know it school will be out and we will be thinking about summer.
            It won’t be all that long before we start to see and hear the hype about this coming summer’s movies. The internet and tv will be filled with ads, commercials, and entertainment news pieces describing the movies as the industry tries to get the public interested in coming to the theater.
            Last summer, much of the hype was focused upon the movie “The Lone Ranger.”  The classic western hero would be featured in a big budget movie that had cost $215 million dollars.  It was being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer who is known for his action movie hits and was starring Johnny Depp who had tremendous success in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
            Disney was behind the movie, and that meant there was a big marketing campaign going on to promote it – a campaign that probably cost around $100 million dollars.  I knew that this marketing campaign was making some serious noise because just before The Lone Ranger came out Legos released a series of sets related to the movie.
            The Lone Ranger was hyped and in the news.  And then when the movie was actually released … it bombed.  It was bad.  Critics panned the movie and Depp’s borderline offensive portrayal of Tonto.  The public agreed as the movie only made $89 million in the United States.  It did go on to make $171 million in the international market, but even with this it is estimated that Disney lost $160 to $190 million dollars on The Lone Ranger.  The movie sounded great … until people actually saw it.
            We find the same contrast in our Old Testament lesson for Good Friday.  In the previous chapters, God has been speaking about his Servant and how he will bring salvation to Israel.  This action by God has been described a mighty and powerful.  Yet when the Servant actually appears, he doesn’t look anything like the hype.
            In our text, Isaiah writing in the eighth century B.C. is addressing the situation that would exist in the sixth century.  Because of Judah’s unfaithfulness to God, Yahweh would use the Babylonian empire as the instrument of his judgment.  They would conquer Judah and take the nation into exile in Babylon.
            However, the message in this section of Isaiah is one of hope.  God was going to be bring his people back to the land of Israel.  Through Isaiah, God says that he is going to use Cyrus to free Judah.  God would bring judgment on the Babylonians by his instrument Cyrus and return his people.  And this is exactly what happened.  In 539 B.C. the Persian king Cyrus defeated the Babylonians and in 538 he issued an edict that allowed the people of God to return.
            Bringing the people back to the land of Israel was one thing.  But dealing with the sin that had caused the exile was another matter altogether.  For this, Yahweh was going to send his servant.  As Isaiah had written in chapter 42, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.”
            This Servant was bringing God’s salvation.  Just before our text the prophet writes, “How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”  The Lord was going to act in a mighty way – he was going to reveal his saving arm.  Immediately before our text we hear, “The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”
            The hype about this Servant was great … and then in our text he actually shows up.  Isaiah writes, “As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,and his form beyond that of the children of mankind.”    The Servant – God’s saving arm - doesn’t look mighty and powerful.  Instead, he looks terrible.  In fact it seems impossible to believe what Yahweh had claimed about him. Our text says, “Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
            Isaiah tells us that the Servant was despised.  This is not describing an emotional reaction.  Instead it tells us that he was rejected as worthless.  And this is exactly what we see in the Gospel lesson for Good Friday.  Jesus Christ is the Servant that Isaiah is describing.  God demonstrated this to be true when at his baptism in the Jordan the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus and the Father spoke words from Isaiah chapter 42 as he said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
            But today we see him mocked and scourged and crucified.  He has been judged as worthless – not worthy of life itself.  He has been judged as worthless – not worthy of being treated with human decency.  Instead he is humiliated and powerless.  The powerful have shredded his flesh with a whip.  They have taken his clothes.  They have nailed him to a cross.  They have hoisted him into the air naked and left him there to die a slow and painful death with the taunting sign above his head, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
            We see a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.  We see a man who knows pain and sickness. But Isaiah tells us that there is more here than meets the eye.  Yes, Jesus is in the midst of grief and sorrows.  But in fact, they are our grief and sorrows, not his. In our text Isaiah emphatically asserts, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”
            The death of Jesus on the cross appears to be worthless and pointless, like so many other crucified by Rome – sometimes thousands at a time.  It appears that God is striking and afflicting Jesus.  But Isaiah reveals to us the mystery of what is really happening.  God is striking and afflicting Jesus in our place.  Jesus receives this treatment for us.
            Isaiah tells us, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”  Jesus is on the cross because of our transgressions.  He is there because of our iniquities.  He is there because of our sin.
            And, how we do sin.  Isaiah says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” We do our own thing.  We do what we want to do.  It doesn’t matter what God has said about it.  It doesn’t matter how it affects others.  If it helps us; if it makes life easier; if it feels good, we do it.  As Martin Luther emphasized, we are curved in on ourselves.
            Now our world says this is great, and you and I want things to be this way, but it simply won’t fly with the holy and just God.  And guess what?  He gets the last word.  On the day of judgment his word determines what is true and what will happen.  And his word says that sinners who sin cannot exist in his presence.  Instead, they are judged as guilty.  They are damned to hell.
            Yet the wonder of the Gospel is that God does not desire this.  And so he, the holy and just God has acted to be just and be the one who justifies the sinner – who declares the sinner not guilty. He sent the Son of God into the world as the righteous and holy One who did no violence and in whose mouth there was no deceit.  God the Father laid the sin of all people upon him.  He laid your sins upon him.  And he judged Jesus in your place.  He condemned Jesus in your place.  He damned Jesus in your place.
            Because Jesus Christ loves the Father, and because he loves you he willingly took on this role.  Isaiah says, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”  On this day, we solemnly remember this fact. We remember that Jesus bore our sins and died in our place.
            And because Jesus Christ did this for us, everything has changed.  In our text Isaiah says, “The righteous One, my Servant will make many to be accounted righteous.”  Isaiah says that the righteous One, the Servant will cause many to be justified.  That is what he has done for you. By bearing your sins and receiving God’s judgment in your place he has given you forgiveness.  He has made you righteous.  Because of Jesus Christ, at the judgment of the Last Day you will be declared not guilty; righteous; a saint.  By his chastisement you have received peace.  St. Paul put it this way, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
            The Gospel lesson tonight ends with Jesus dead and buried in a tomb.  It ends with Jesus utterly crushed for our iniquities.  That’s what Good Friday is about.  But our text from Isaiah points beyond the tomb.  It directs us to what we will begin to celebrate tomorrow night.  We hear it at the beginning of our text when Isaiah says: “Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.”  High and lifted up – those are the same words used by Isaiah in chapter six to describe Yahweh on the throne when the prophet sees God in the temple
            We hear it at the end of our text when we learn that the Servant will be satisfied.  And then Isaiah goes on to say, “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah says that you are forgiven and justified.  And you have hope because tonight is not the end of the story. 
           
           
           


           
           
                                                                                   

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for our sins.  Our Lord was on the cross from 9:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m., and from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. there was darkness over the land.  Tonight the Second Service of the Triduum will take place at 7:00 p.m. The Triduum is the one service that runs over the course of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.   In the Triduum we pass through the three days of Christ’s Passover and remember that through Holy Baptism we have shared in Christ’s saving death and will also share in His resurrection on the Last Day. Tonight’s service focuses on the suffering and death of our Lord on the cross.  The Gospel lesson for Good Friday is the Passion of our Lord according to St. John (John 18:1-19:42).

Scripture reading:
            When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
            So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.
            Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
            The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
            Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
            Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
            So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
            After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
            Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
            From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
            So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
            When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
            “They divided my garments among them,
                        and for my clothing they cast lots.”
            So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
            After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
            Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
            After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. (John 18:1-19:42)

Collect of the Day:
Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and forever.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sermon for the First Service of the Triduum: Maundy Thursday



                                                                                                            Maundy Thursday
                                                                                                            Jn 13:1-15
                                                                                                            4/17/14

            Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory has been in some hot water recently.  He received some very negative publicity when it became known that he was in the process of building a residence for himself that cost $2.2 million dollars. 
            Now just for the sake of review, as a Roman Catholic priest, Gregory is not married and so has no family.  You may wonder then why he thought he needed a six thousand square foot Tudor mansion in an upscale Atlanta area neighborhood.  Well, you are not the only ones.  As you can imagine there was quite an outcry, and it prompted to Gregory to put the following statement upon the website of the archdiocesan newspaper: “I failed to consider the impact on the families throughout the archdiocese who, though struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, tuition and other bills, faithfully respond year after year to my pleas to assist with funding our ministries and services.”  To which I can only say: “No kidding.”
            But Archbishop Gregory isn’t even the worst recent case of a church official using church funds to provide himself with extravagant luxury.  In Germany, there is Bishop Franz-Peter-Tebartz von Elst – or as he is also known in the media, “the bishop of bling.”  Bishop von Elst has spent $43 million dollars building a luxury residence for himself.  That can happen when your bathtub costs almost $21,000 as the bishop’s did. 
            The German bishop did not choose the best time to engage in this extreme extravagance.  The new pope, Pope Francis is seeking to emphasize that the clergy need to be humble servants who avoid excess.  Francis himself has chosen not to live in the ornate papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace and instead to live in a more simple residence located behind St. Peter’s Basilica.  He has chosen not to wear much of the expensive liturgical clothing that the papacy has acquired, and instead to wear much more simple ecclesiastical clothing.  He has even used a Ford Focus instead of the papal limousine.  It was therefore not surprising when the Vatican chose to remove Bishop von Elst.
            To his credit, Pope Francis practices what he preaches.  He has called on the clergy of the Roman Catholic church – especially the leadership - to exhibit humility and the attitude of a servant in the way they conduct themselves.  He himself has done this, using the bus when he was a bishop and now seeking to modify ways that the papacy does things in order to avoid excess. He has sought to remind the clergy that as undershepherds of Jesus Christ, they are called to model their behavior after Jesus who came to serve us.
            The Gospel lesson for Maundy Thursday is John’s account of the Last Supper.  While Mathew, Mark and Luke focus our attention on Jesus’ institution of the Sacrament of the Altar, John instead tells us about another significant event that occurred.  He narrates how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.
            Our Gospel lesson begins with the words, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”  Jesus knew what the night held in store for him.  He knew would happen in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He knew about the trials, and the scourging and the crucifixion – the things that will be symbolized by the stripping of the altar at the end of this service.  He knew that the hour had come to begin the events that would lead to his ascension and return to the Father.
            Jesus loved his disciples.  John tells us that he “loved them to the end” which is a phrase that in Greek refers to the temporal end of his ministry and at the same time also means “completely.”  He loved them, and so he did something to demonstate the nature and the character of his life.
            We hear in our text, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
            Jesus began to wash his disciples’ feet.  Now this action was striking for several reasons.  First, feet were normally washed before dinner – when people had arrived at dinner from the dusty roads and streets. It wasn’t something you did in the middle of dinner.  And second, as you are no doubt well aware, the washing of feet was normally something that was done by a slave. However what you may not fully understand is the degree to which this action went against the grain of the entire ancient Mediterranean world.  This was a world built on status and patronage.  There was a firm hierarchy that determined how people related to each other.  As Jesus says in our text, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.”
            And yet, Jesus lays all of that aside even as he lays down his outer garments in order to serve.  When he was done washing their feet he explained what the action meant.  He put on his outer garments, resumed his place and said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
            Jesus laid down his outer garments in order to wash their feet – in order to serve them.  He said that he washed their feet in order to give them an example that they should do just as Jesus had done.  Yet the example here is far deeper than the mere washing of feet.  It is an example in John’s Gospel that points to the cross.
            In our text Jesus puts down his outer garments, and then after washing their feet he takes his outer garments again in order to put them on.  In John’s Gospel the same verbs are used earlier in chapter ten when our Lord says, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
            Jesus washes the disciples’ feet as an illustration of the service he is about to give to them on the cross by laying down his life on Good Friday and then taking it up again on Easter.  In that same chapter, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
            Jesus, the Son of God, became flesh and entered into our world to lay down his life for us.  At the beginning of his ministry, when John the Baptist saw Jesus he exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 
            Jesus served you in order to take away your sins.  He served you because frankly, you would rather serve yourself. You would rather put your wants ahead of God and ahead of your neighbor.  And you are often willing to do what you have to in order to get your way.
            Jesus Christ did what he had to in order open up the way to God.  He served you by dying on the cross in order to win forgiveness.  Like the lamb of the Passover, the shedding of his blood causes God’s judgment to pass over you.  And so, you are forgiven.
            Jesus leaves you in no doubt.  On this same night and that same supper he instituted the Sacrament of the Altar in which he gives you the body and blood given and shed for you on the cross.  He gives you the price he paid for your salvation and so delivers the saving benefits of his cross and resurrection.
            By his body and blood, Jesus sustains you in the faith.  You received new life in your baptism as you were born again of water and the Spirit.  And now Christ nourishes that life through the Sacrament of the Altar.  He shares his saving love with you in this unique and personal way.
            He shares this love with you, so that now through the work of the Spirit you can share it with others. At the end of this chapter, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
            Christ calls you to love others in the way that he has loved you.  He loved you by service – the self-giving service of the cross.  And in washing the feet of his disciples on the night when he was betrayed, Jesus provided the model for your life.  He calls you to humble service that seeks the good of others in the different vocations where God has placed you in the world.  He calls you to a love the binds his Church together in mutual care and service.  For as Jesus says in our text tonight: “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.”