Love Wash Eat Drink Remember—for Maundy Thursday 2020

Jesus knew that his time had come. John tells us that in the very first verse of our Gospel passage this evening. The hour had come for him to depart out of this world and to return to the Father. Knowing that, Jesus continued to love his own who were in the world, and to love them to the end.[1] He still does. Endlessly. It’s the John 3.16 kind of love—much more than just warm fuzzies—like the fierce love of a mother or father—“a love that needs no love in return, that is is intelligent and purposeful, always directed to the need of the other.”[2] Love that is imperative. Like the Maundy in Maundy Thursday. Maundy comes from the Latin, mandatum, meaning commandment as in the gospel reading

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.[3]

Love in the imperative. We are commanded to love one another as Jesus loves us. Love. 

How did Jesus show his love to his disciples then? First, up close and intimately, by washing their feet and with this admonition, 

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 as I have done to you. [4]

This is one of the ways Jesus, Lord and Master, loved them to the end. We should do the same, he said. Literally, as we do when we are able to gather at the Church on Maundy Thursday. And figuratively, by finding ways to humbly serve and bless one another in Jesus’ Name, when we can’t. 

Love. Wash. 

The second way Jesus showed his love to the end was by instituting The Lord’s Supper. This we also celebrate on Maundy Thursday. We read about it in The Epistle. Eat the bread, drink the wine, remember me, Jesus said.[5] Notice how it resonates with the Lord’s Passover Moses set up in such detail in our reading from Exodus[6]—it, too was a feast to the Lord, a memorial and something to remember.

Love. Wash. Eat. Drink. Remember. 

Unfortunately, because of the covid-19 pandemic, we cannot enjoy the loving, washing, eating, drinking and remembering together in the Church this evening. What we can still do, however, wherever we are, is love and remember. Here are two prayers to that end. 

Let us pray. 

Father, although we have been separated from one another to halt the spread of the covid-19 virus, we know that we are not separated from you. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to help us remember all that Jesus said,[7]wash away our sins, give us new birth and new life.[8] Show us new and creative ways to love one another while we wait for the day we can follow the example Jesus set by washing one another’s feet again, for real. Amen. 

Dear Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in Holy Communion. I love you above all things, and I desire to possess you within my soul. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you, together with all your faithful people, and I embrace you with all the affections of my soul. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.[9]

Love. Wash. Eat. Drink. 

Remember that. 

Love in Jesus, 


[1] John 13.1

[2] Marva Dawn & Eugene Peterson,  The Unnecessary Pastor (Eerdman’s, 2000)


[3] John 13.34-35

[4] John 13.14-15

[5] 1 Cor 11.23-26

[6] Ex 12.1-14

[7] John 14.26

[8] Titus 3.5

[9] Based on Prayer 106, “For Spiritual Communion” in The Book of Common Prayer, The Anglican Church in North America, 2019, p677